October 27, 2005 at 3:01 pm #27419
If I recall correctly, there was talk about some members here
developing a game. What happened to that? Can someone point
me to the threads about it?
October 27, 2005 at 8:51 pm #27420
A game by members of SierraGamers.com was launched twice. The first time, it fizzled out due to disagreements about game design and leadership. The second time, it was being worked on by a smaller group who were just playing with some technology. They had some fun initial results but it just kind of stopped as well, probably due to everyone being very busy with other things. I don’t think there’s any threads around anymore in the public bulletin boards.
October 28, 2005 at 11:05 am #27421
Do you have an interest in game development? If so, what aspect of the development process would you be able to lend a hand: art, programming, writing, etc…
October 28, 2005 at 4:34 pm #27422
A long time ago I was interested in art and dialogue design–my art is
very immature right now as I have been in the business world for 9
years instead of drawing (running a small business takes a lot of time!)
For right not Quality Assurance is probably what I’d be most interested
in, I like to crash stuff! Someday when I’m a little more skilled
I’d probably be interested in dialogue writing.
October 31, 2005 at 7:42 am #27423
I’m always ready to join a game design team under Ken and Roberta Williams. I suggest that the game should be unique and not liscened by anyone other than K & R. It would be good to start a thread on what gammers liked about other games and see how these elements could be combined in a ‘unique’ way to make the ultimate game experience. Ofcourse, you cannot forget a good story. I suggest raasugar (sp) to write the story or Roberta .
October 31, 2005 at 9:18 am #27424
The game design team was not ‘under’ Ken or Roberta Williams. Ken did have some input at the beginning, just watching what was being done and commenting, but Ken and Roberta don’t have the time or interest to be integrally involved. Ken’s main hobby project these days is of course the continued programming and designing of the talkspot.com system, and I suppose Roberta is still working on that book idea of hers that was mentioned some time ago now?
Also, doing a game is not just as easy to start as saying such person (whoever) should write the story. There are HUNDREDS of things that need to be taken into consideration when starting a game and it is all of these things that bogged down the first attempt.
October 31, 2005 at 12:18 pm #27425
I think the complexity of the game has a lot to do with how many
‘details’ need to be figured out before development. A large, 3D
game with 20 hours of gameplay is going to be a lot more involved than
a Flash-based game with 15-20 minutes of gameplay.
Is it possible for someone to tell us the history of the first two
projects, basically, what the end product was supposed to be (a 3d FPS,
3d RPG, 2d RPG, 2d adventure, etc), so we have a little input into what
happened with it?
I think one of the things that needs to be established right away is
what revenue model is going to be followed. Are we going to give
away the game free, completely free? Would be have it
ad-supported on a web site (perhaps a Flash game)? Would we try
to sell it, either digital download or burned CDs (CafePress is a good
place for CD distribution).
If you have 200mb game and have it up for download, you’re probably
going to pay $1.00 in bandwidth for every 5 people who download it,
unless you get a megaplan like something at 1&1 that has, say, 50gb
included. Then you can get 250 downloads included, and then $1
for every 5 extra…. (I think their rate is still 99 cents a gig).
Then you need to evaluate, how many do we plan to have available?
A 200mb game, downloaded by a whopping 1,000 a month, would cost
probably over $100 a month in hosting fees. How are we re-couping
that cost if it’s a ‘free’ game?
How many people are interested in our game, but hit the home page and
realize its a 15 minute download and go away? Are we losing our
audience? Think back to the original sierra games, 700kb, 2mb,
etc. Can we do that today? Yes, by using vector graphics
instead of 3d models. Can we have it so it can be near
instantaneously downloaded and played by any site visitor? Yes,
by using a widely available plug-in like Flash. Can we make money
doing it? Yes, there are thousands of web sites making money
giving away ‘free’ stuff, many of them with content similar to
something we could come up.
So really, what I’m asking is, should the first venture of an
independent team be a complex, wish-we-had-it at CompUSA boxed game
with dozens of hours of gameplay, or something more simple to get our
Criticize any or all, please. These are just a flow of my opinions.
October 31, 2005 at 12:21 pm #27426
I have taken a college class on management. The teacher talked about a process called TQM (Total Quality Management) where each group assigned a task is responsible for the quality of that task. A game would need an engine that would make it possible to create more games in the future. According to my User Interface class, technology should not quide the developement process, the user should and how they interact with the computer/game. I have been working on a web based interface. I understand a little of how hard it is to write a game engine. The current program can create a walk sequence in any direction in the web browser using the slope intercept formula. The x direction is changed by one and the y direction is calculated. Unfortunately this causes movement in the y direction to be faster the closer one gets to the y value of the initial position. The program would also require changing the array of images based on the direction one travels, scaling the image in a 3D world, and collision detection. One could pull an engine off the shelf but what rights would they give away? Making a game is near imposible but the challenge would be a great learning experience and give purpose to some of our lifes. ‘Purpose Driven Life’ : ) res4.doc
October 31, 2005 at 1:23 pm #27427
Your concerns are valid and should be considered, but you had better be sure you have a group that is ready to work hard before you attempt to answer those types of questions because these questions assume one thing .. that you have a product that is in development and will be finished In my observations of the first 2 projects, it is the ‘people factor’ that is the biggest problem – not technology, not bandwidth, not server space, … Here are a couple of observations that I will make about the first 2 attempts:
1) People make the mistake of believing that game development is fun. It can be at times, but first and foremost it is HARD WORK. Thinking up new story ideas, puzzles, revenue streams, etc… is very easy and actually kind of fun. You really feel as though you are accomplishing something – everyone’s throwing out ideas and agreeing. Then there’s the inevitable … work must begin. All of the talking goes bye-bye and people must produce what’s been talked about for so long. That is when the problems start. The game quickly goes from the fun of throwing out ideas and ‘what ifs’ to the realization that many of hours need to be spent pounding out code, drawing sketches, producing art, etc…
2) Communication is a massive problem. Communication is always a potential problem when developing software and remote communication complicates matters 100 fold when dealing with an ‘all volunteer globally dispersed development team’. It is very difficult to make things happen when people only work when they feel like working. The odds that everyone feels like working at the same time is remote and this synergy is probably one of the best ways to get anything accomplished
Dave, believe me when I tell you .. we had everything. We had a story, some sample artwork, issue tracking database for all the bugs, timelines, technical documents, etc… Looking back, I believe that people thought I was too rough and strict…that I took the fun out of it and was too serious. Tracking information like this was the only way I knew how to manage. How else does one manage? Could someone please introduce me to the guy that was able to successfully create anything without proper planning?
We didn’t have a revenue model….we didn’t need one. Noone was in it for monetary gain. If we happened to produce something that people would be willing to buy, then great. We actually had provisions if that were the case, but it was not what was intended to drive us. Just to be able to get the experience and to know that we accomplished something was payment enough.
Bandwidth, server space, ads, etc… were also not an issue. We were going to create a 2D Flash comedy game based on office humor. An SWF (Flash movie) file would be placed on Ken’s server space and people would be directed to that URL if they were interested in playing. This eliminates any of your concerns of ‘costs per download, etc…’
Having said all of this, we had everything ‘figured out’. We knew what we wanted .. from technologies to artwork, but it was when the ideas were handed over to be created that everything broke down.
October 31, 2005 at 1:28 pm #27428
JT, if you’re still around .. check these games out:http://www.compfused.com/directlink/926/
With the Olympics just around the corner, I thought we could create an archery game (the olympic game where people cross-country ski and then shoot arrows at a target). We would only focus on shooting targets at different distances ??? Just a thought
October 31, 2005 at 4:23 pm #27429
that sound cool patrick. ill send you an email in a little bit.
October 31, 2005 at 5:41 pm #27430
It’s true we eventually reached some decisions on what we wanted to
do… mostly because 90% of people left. At the start, however, on the
first attempt, nothing you asked about Dave could be agreed on. For a
long time. Because everyone wanted to do something different, people
wanted to take charge that others didn’t want to take charge or do
things that other people didn’t want to do, you name it, it was a mess.
If you guys want to start working on a project again, we can always
make a new area for you guys to play in – just let me know.
October 31, 2005 at 7:45 pm #27431
It makes sense to me to have a revenue model, though. Otherwise,
aren’t we all essentially ‘interns’ in the project? If hosting is
$10 a month for an Internet-based game, and you have $50 a month, in
revenue, that’s $40 a month. Keep up the work for a year on a
steady rate and you’ve gotten almost $500 in profit. If you have
a team of 5, they’d get $100 over the course of the year. Now, if
they spent 20 hours on the project, they’re still below minimum wage,
so I can see where one could say, ‘Let’s just make it for fun.’
But imagine that the game takes off, and you pull in $300 a
month. That’s nearly $3500 in a year (after hosting), if the game
stays steadily popular without increase or decrease in
popularity. Now say it took 100 hours for 5 people to develop the
game. $3500 / ( 100 * 5) = $7 (/hr). Now, obviously, how
complex a game can you get with 500 work hours?
Ken, if you make it this far in the message, how far along when you
started ‘making games’ did you decide to do it for profit instead of
for fun? Did you start right away and say, ‘Let’s try to pick up
some extra money by making something cool’ or did you just try to see
what you could do with the technology, having a profit as an
October 31, 2005 at 8:46 pm #27432
So you focus all your attention on how much money the product may make and how you would split the money up amongst the team members and you haven’t got a product idea, story, programmers, artists, etc…? Would a revenue model not come later when you have a chance to, at the very least, review the final product? One potential scenario could be a beta/alpha release plan where the only stipulations are that the end users give honest feedback about the product. This information would become vital when pricing is determined. You could even go so far as to ask the alpha players to give feedback on how much they may be willing to pay for such a game – although I would not put much faith in the responses. These are the people that will ultimately become the ones that buy the product. All of the research should revolve around them and the information that they would provide.
October 31, 2005 at 11:43 pm #27433
I would just hope that the options would be laid out, whether it be a
sponsored game or a for sale game, so that those involved know if there
was potential for it to have a monetary payback of some sort.
You could, for example, say, we want a Flash game that draws at least
1000 visitors a day (whether new or return) and grows a bit every
day/month. Then go from there.
I once saw a game that was originally a Flash game and made it to
PS2. There’s nothing really stopping that from happening to
anyone else as long as the game is great enough. Ultimately, I
would hope that the game is both (a) rewarding to the player, and (b)
rewarding to the creators, whether its just experience, success, or
monetary reward, or perhaps, hopefully, all three.
I would say definitely don’t set a final price until the product is
well along in development, but don’t totally eliminate other options;
games don’t have to be sold to the user to be profitable anymore.
November 1, 2005 at 7:48 am #27434
The first game most likely will not create a profit because of the cost of research and developement. One would have to depend on people working for peanuts. The new buzz is a web page (I think gametap) were people can signup and play old and new games for a monthly fee. If your taking in profit in the US, uncle sam wants some too and that takes accountants and paper work. How would this change with a global production? My opinion is to set it up for download and if it’s good it will spread to everyone to enjoy.
November 1, 2005 at 1:12 pm #27435
I don’t see why a first game can’t produce a profit–but I do agree,
that the most likely scenario is that those involved would be working
for peanuts, unless it really took off.
What monetary costs are involved with game development? Most
people are doing this on the side, and are already paying for their
electricity and computer and Internet connection. I can see
buying a few books here and there, but besides that, where does the
expense come in other than our time in the project?
November 1, 2005 at 1:34 pm #27436
There’s the cost of development tools .. licenses for Microsoft Visual Studio .NET (not cheap) , Macromedia Flash, Photoshop, Sound software, etc… all of this software is expensive.
Hardware costs like servers and the cost of a domain name. Both are these are neglible with sites like godaddy.com.
November 1, 2005 at 3:27 pm #27437
Thank you for putting it in a better perspective.
I can borrow resources that I forget not everyone else has access to.
If you bypass the Microsoft software, and go straight Flash (although
Photoshop is still pretty much a given) you could save a bit…. unless
the artists are willing to sacrifice and go to Fireworks (which who
knows how long will last after the Adobe ‘synergy’).
Was any software already purchased for the last effort, or was that all in the planning stages?
November 1, 2005 at 5:11 pm #27438
To make a long story short, the fancy programs may make the task easier if you know how to use them.
November 1, 2005 at 5:38 pm #27439
My brother interned at Bentley!
We can’t forget that there is The Gimp (and GIMPshop) that can do some
of the things Photoshop can do, with a price tag of $0 instead of $600
(or whatever Adobe charges).
November 1, 2005 at 5:44 pm #27440
for 3d modeling and animation there is a totally free option that is wonderful. it is called Blender 3d. it is open source and updated regularly. http://www.blender3d.com
another graphics program for 2d art that is free is Gimp. it is also well maintained and full of features. it’s basically a free version of photoshop. http://www.gimp.org (Dave beat me to it 🙂 )
as far as compilers go, i know microsoft was giving their c++ compiler and also there c# compilers away for free. they were contained in the MS SDK and MS .NET SDK downloads. they were just the command line tools, meaning no GUI, but hey, they’re full featured and free. i never downloaded them to check them out since i own Visual Studio .NET, but i know others did and used them. when you combine them with the free DirectX SDK download you have a full Windows game development environment that didn’t cost a thing.
November 2, 2005 at 7:42 am #27441
If you search on Microsoft.com for coding4fun they teach how to create a 3D game in VBS.NET and C#.NET with DirectX SDK.
By the way, one could always draw the art like Disney use to do and scan it into the computer.
November 2, 2005 at 9:52 am #27442
I think we’re getting to the point that its starting to edge on safe to
make a 3D game, however, that still requires a download, so you’re
immediately eliminating several of your players, especially due to
I’m a casual gamer, and up until last month I only had 32mb onboard
video RAM. Would a basic 3d game support a slower configuration
One of the nice things of Flash is that it’ll run on PC, Mac, and Linux with no extra compiling.
November 2, 2005 at 11:03 am #27443
a 3d game’s requirements are very flexible. someone with 32mb of video ram is still in good shape when it comes to casual gaming. i know that most new 3d games now require at least 64mb and pixel shading support, but those games are like Half Life 2, Quake 4, and FarCry. those games are targeted for ‘hardcore’ gamers that do spend money every year for the latest ati or nvidia cards. those games are programmed with that in mind.
i think that the huge amount of video memory on video cards these days have produced lazy programming habits. the more memory, the better of course, but now developers have just decided to say ‘you NEED 64mb and PixelShading to play this game’even though it’s extremely easy for a developer to make a low end version of the game with half quality textures and no shading. it just takes more time. i know time is money, but they are probably losing more sales than that due to lofty system requirements.
casual games that are downloaded from the internet usually don’t even require more than 4 or 8 mb of ram on the video card. keep in mind that 3d doesnt require a good graphics card anyway, it just helps a lot. i think a really good example of this is Half Life 1. im pretty sure when it was realeased it was targeted for cards that only had 2 mb on board. considering the end results, thats pretty amazing. considering a first project from any team probably wouldn’t be more advanced than that, i think it’s safe to say we could target a setup with only 8mb or so and still make a fun, eye pleasing game. it wouldn’t be cutting edge, but it would be full 3d.
December 22, 2005 at 12:48 pm #27444
I hope this discussion continues and a game is produced even if it takes three years or more. My life is very busy working 40 hrs a week and the family needing me and the computer in the evenings. If a game was made in the true style and heart of the old Sierra games with no legal copywrite problems, I could see making the effort to stay up late and work hard on this game worth while. I guess that is why I have been hanging around this site for such a long time. Waiting for the next game.
Games like those Sierra created took one away from the day to day life. Ken, for me, has created another game. I enjoy listening to the wonderful travels he and his wife take around the world, like their trip to Coatia. I like my day to day life but it gets to a point where it is like an old record that skips and plays the same sound over and over.
I would like to be able to create my own games instead of buying the trash they are selling in these new games. Todays games are more like watching a movie. They don’t bring you into the game.
Anyway…back to the grind stone.