Atlantis opens on BigFish

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by Emmanuel, Jul 30, 2005.

  1. Anthony Flack

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    No, but a lot of people are entertained by that sort of thing (in this case, people who don't tend to pay for their entertainment, so no it wouldn't make much business sense). I brought it up just to illustrate that just because you're entertaining a large number of people doesn't mean what you're doing is worthwhile. Not to suggest that anything popular is no good - just that being popular shouldn't be the be-all, end-all argument.

    Although I would also suggest that the things that entertain the largest number of people will entertain each individual person less than something more niche. So if all we have are products that cater to the largest demographics, the overall quality of entertainment enjoyed by any individual within that group goes down. In this business, it is less about being the best entertainer you can be, and more about trying to find ways to balance the interests of as many of your audience as you can, in order to get as many people as possible to pay their money. If you can add something that will convert person A into a paying customer, without pissing off person B so much that they won't buy it any more, then that's what you do.

    This isn't an elitist argument - in the strictest sense, my interest is only in entertaining people too. Which means, to me, giving people something that they can't get somewhere else (otherwise, they may as well go get it somewhere else), and making it as good as I possibly can so that the people that like it will get the most enjoyment I can give them. I would rather leave one person extremely happy, than ten people vaguely satisfied. In this respect, my motivations are not at all selfish, since it means doing more work for less money.

    As for making clones that don't succeed - well there's always an element of luck to this kind of success, as you will know only too well. But we've gone over this before - if you really can't clone a successful game and make something fun, then more than likely nothing you make will be any good.

    Absolutely. But I'm not talking about enjoying your work, I'm talking about passion. I hate programming! But I just feel like I need to do it.
    That's the thing - I wish everyone would stop rethinking their plans! I bet there isn't a single person here who is excited by the idea of playing Atlantis. The only thing everyone is excited about is the money.
     
    #121 Anthony Flack, Oct 10, 2005
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2005
  2. svero

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    Well I'll say this much. When I finished playing zuma I was ready for more. No clones came out until I finally decided to make one and 50 were quickly released before I could get my game out because god hates me. But as a consumer I was ready for more "zuma" when I was finished playing it. It was fun, I liked it, and I didn't have enough. So in that sense I was excited to play more. There just didnt happen to be any at the time. With regards to luxor.. you could almost view atlantis as a level pack filling in a need for people who finished the game and wanted more of the same.
     
  3. Sharpfish

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    I can agree with that, and I often rant about those things in retail games, movies and especially Music.But I think our "indie games sector" is the wrong target for it. While I come from the same kind of camp as you ( in that I wanted to do strictly what I wanted to do to be creative and innovative when I first set out) I soon realised that given how long games take to make, and that ANY money back would enable me to carry on making more games, up until the point where I could afford to "take the risk" to make the more innovative or at least "going against the grain" stuff that I wanted to, that if you want to do it "for a living" you really have little choice. You have to make what sells, and that isn't as clear cut as it looks either. even a "simple match3" game takes a lot of work to really deliver the goods and make it polished, and imagine how HARD it is working so long on that kind of game when all you really want to do is work on your "cool ideas" instead.


    If you have a full time job / good income / nice savings, then you can "afford" to make what you want to make, in your case it is the lovely looking Cletus Clay. Now the fact you are doing that for yourself while not "compromising" it to the indie-mainstream should be reward enough as that is the path you have chosen (and you have other income). Some people don't have other income and can not afford the luxury of creating their dream ideas.

    I am somewhere in the middle - at the moment I have zero income, I have worked on many prototypes - each one a different Idea starting over a year ago with something more along the lines of your work, then something more "hardcore" focussed until I am now at the point where I have tried to keep my "ideals" but mix them in with everything I have picked up about the "casual/mainstream indie market". What I mean by this is my game is certainly different from the usual "casual game" but a casual game it is intended to be nonetheless. And even with this small difference it may probably pay the price and not perform as well as a "zuma clone" clone.

    But then.. nobody has ever told me I can not make a zuma clone if I wanted, so I can not justify to myself any reason to get depressed over choices I make for myself. The reality is, THAT is the market! You can try to make your games fit into that market to varying degress and expect to get monetry rewards out of it, or you can go with your heart and do what you really want to do. I have personally gone straight down the middle - I am really enjoying my current project as "casual" and "restrained" as it has become since my initial wild ideas (ideas that I would enjoy but the general consumers would probably be confused with).

    I think your main problem is because your project is (understandably) taking a long time to be completed, but you know what you may loose in sales eventually you will make up for in word-of-mouth just like platypus did.

    I think Raptisoft is another good example.. from Hamsterball to Chuzzle. I don't really think there is a compromise there, technically of course there is restraint and conforming to what sells but both products are extremely polished and worthy to different types of players. One sells more than the other. I don't know which one John is more happy with though?

    I think the first thing to accept is we are lucky to have ANY market to sell to that hasn't been completly dominated by the mainstream yet (retail) and rather than me lamenting about "what if" I will just give it shot after shot and try to find my own place amongst the masses of shareware without worrying about what X,Y and Z are doing. Because comparing your success to those who are more successful will only ever get you down. And who can work on a game when they feel down?

    chin up!! You can count on my cash for Cletus when it is released (as many have said) because even though the mass-casual gamers may not "get it", there is a certain section out there who do. (that is unless you completely furbar the control scheme ;) )
     
  4. mahlzeit

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    A small aside: I don't think indie games are so different from indie movies or indie music in this respect. If you don't want to be mainstream (or the mainstream doesn't want you), you'll be struggling, even if you're making movies or music or books or whatever. Artists in these other mediums face the same problems we do.
     
  5. soniCron

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    Sure it has. Fortunately, there's only so much domination any one studio can muster. With retail, you're fighting for a finite amount of shelf space and pretty pictures on boxes. In the digital realm, only the strongest survive with their time-limited trials. This lends itself to a more natural ebb and flow -- something the retail sector can never achieve in such short periods of time.

    Unfortunately, "sequel overload" is entirely possible with digital distribution and will be the next, if not final, domination factor, causing the current on-line sale model to stagnate just like the retail sector has. It's only a matter of time before the big guys realize this and start pumping out sequel after sequel of the public's favorite titles. Dramatically reduced costs and development time for creating a sequel that's an instant sell to the fans of the previous versions? And you think nobody's going to realize this and end up homogenizing the market even more?
     
  6. Sharpfish

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    Tell me about it. As it happens I used to be in a music project, basically a one man thing (me on songwriting,vocals,guitars,keys,production blah de blah) with outside contributions. Of course I think my music was good, but it got no-where. I now do it as a hobby when I get time, because I love music and do it for the sake of it (not to be rich and/or famous). So I know only too well that indie games CAN equate to indie music - but just like that (and as I was saying) you can not AFFORD to follow those ideals forever unless you have money in the bank. So in the case of indie games - write a few zuma clones to stockpile cash before you write your diablo clone, in Indie music - write some radio jingles / contract supermarket cheese music before you have enough cash to actually gig properly and advertise (because chances are a record company with any weight is not going to touch you).

    Which kind of proves my point.

    I was a fan of a much underated (now almost cult) indie band from the UK who have since split up due to continued non acceptance by the mainstream. The songwriter was imo a genius, they had some top 20 and even top 10 hits - even a number one album (so they are not quite the very small scale indie band they could have been) but even they felt the pressure of fighting a loosing battle and "got out".

    So you have to ask yourself, knowing this is just the way things are, are you prepared to continue fighting (and loosing) or are you going to treat it as a business, the same way you treated going to work "for the man" as a business agreement - you did something you didn't love doing and got paid?

    If not then you will have to see it as a part time hobby and be prepared to get other work, luckily it seems most people who do want to try different stuff do have other income.

    The choices are there for us all to make as we wish. I got out of music because I was sickened by the trash that was getting signed (my opinion of course) and the good bands that were getting nowhere because marketing and money was promoting the steps / mcflys / crazy frogs of this world to the mass buyers (ie children and teenagers). YOu can never compete for success against such "perfectly pitched" products. You can however keep your integrity and stay true to what you believe in and expect much lower exposure - which is what I did (with music). Games ARE different in that they are a lot less emotionally involved from a creation standpoint. Havings started with making games on spectrum and amiga - moving to music - and back to games, I can feel the liberation in games knowing my only problems are my own self induced or technical barrier ones and not "weird outside forces" making me spend my life in a permanent negative state. With games you can learn/adjust/compromise and no one really cares - it is up to you. In music you can not because you are considered a "sell out" and in most cases just do not want to do it. If you feel this way about games also then you just have to accept the reality of the market and give whatever it is you are doing, your best shot! :)
     
  7. simonh

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    I can understand Anthony's point, and I must admit I would hate to have to resort to just writing clones of casual games. I hate playing traditional casual games (Mahjong, Zuma, Breakout etc etc), and I dare say I would hate writing them too. That would suck the fun out of everything for me.

    Admittedly the one game I wrote was a clone, but it was a clone of a console game, a game I enjoyed playing and a game I enjoyed writing. At first sales were slow - but recently it appeared on miniclip and it's done OK since.

    And I think that's what it comes down to ultimately - finding the balance between writing something you enjoy, and writing something which will sell. The two don't necessarily have to be mutually exclusive, and to be honest Anthony you are one of the few people to have managed this already with Platypus. And I have no doubt you will do it again with Cletus, although I must admit I am still worried about that mouse control scheme :p
     
  8. sparkyboy

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    I too can appreciate Anthony'y point of view. The one thing that really gets to me, is not the fact that people have different views and opinions, that just makes for a fun discussion. No it's the 'HOLIER THAN THOU' attitude of some people that try to ram their beliefs down my throat, and INSIST that my opinions are JUST PLAIN WRONG!! :mad:

    And before anyone starts, I am not implying that Anthony is like that. He states his views and what he thinks is wrong and that's cool.

    Simon there you go, I'm a logic puzzle fan. In fact the games I really enjoy playing are exactly the games you hate, and vice versa. That's the main reason ( besides potential money ;) ) why I like to write them ( not that I'm anywhere near,as yet, to creating a 'HIT', but hope springs eternal.) ;)

    Taking a look at the market as I see it, I'm positive that an extremely well polished Casual clone would sell in order of magnitudes better than a clone of some of that retail crap!!

    And Simon, I appreciate your view too, and if that makes you happy doing that then Kudos and I wish you all the success. :)


    All the best


    Mark.
     
  9. Anthony Flack

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    I don't mind at all what sort of games people like - what would make me happy would be to see more people making the games they really want to make. I'm sure everyone here has some "dream games" they would love to make happen, but we often lose sight of that. You might decide to try to make one casual game to get some money together... and before you know it, that's all you do, and you've forgotten all about the reason you wanted to make games in the first place.

    It seems that whenever somebody creates something for love, the sincerity of it just shines through and makes it great. Even if it's not all that great, if you see what I mean. Even if it comes out a bit crap, you still can't hold anything against it. I just wish more people would appreciate that, but sales figures say that they don't.

    In a way it's not a question of quality, or originality, or anything else. There's just a certain quality to things that have been made for their own sake, which feels important to me. Some kind of human element. I want to see the games that you're really thinking about, when you're supposed to be thinking about something else! It's hard to articulate properly at 1 am though.
     
    #129 Anthony Flack, Oct 10, 2005
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2005
  10. patrox

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    When people go to the restaurant they always take the same meal... That doesn't mean that restaurants doing less casual meals don't exist, they're just harder to find and more expensive. Me thinks that to do more original games we might have to raise our prices... ( tribal trouble is 30$... they've got it all right ! ).

    pat
     
  11. sparkyboy

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    Well, as stated earlier, I love to play and make casual type games..( and not only because I have about as much chance of creating a 3D FPS or whatever as a one legged man has of winning an arse kicking competition.) :D

    Well that has been my philosophy, and judging by certain esteemed members' of this and other forums, who saw my previous endeavours, that would seem to be the consensus as far as I'm concerned anyway! :D

    True enough Anthony, and might I just say that your articulation is well.......ARTICULATE! ;)
    As for yourself, the first time I saw Platypus I thought.....'WOW...WTF'. I had never seen a graphical style like that before. I bet 'Wallace' plays the game every chance he can!! ;) ( Shame they didn't include a scene like that in the new film.........IMAGINE!!!! )

    Anyway, I'm sure 'Cletus' is going to go down a storm in certain circles!!!! I for one can't wait for a demo to see the next step in Claymation!!!!


    All the best


    Mark.
     
  12. Emmanuel

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    Anyway, #1 on RealArcade this week

    Best regards,
    Emmanuel
     
  13. soniCron

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    Amazing! Congrats! :)
     
  14. Emmanuel

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    Just realized Atlantis is #1 on BigFish as well.

    Best regards,
    Emmanuel
     
  15. Robert Cummings

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    I think something new and fresh is needed, not clones... Who's brave enough to make the Next Big Thing?
     
  16. PoV

    PoV
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    I accept your challenge. :D
     
  17. ManuelFLara

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    I don't think that's a matter of being "brave", but a matter of coming up with the right idea (and realizing it's the right idea to risk on, when you have it).
     
  18. Bmc

    Bmc New Member

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    Hmm, how about... you! If you think something new and fresh is needed, then you should create it. If you can't walk the walk, then don't talk the talk.
     
  19. Sharpfish

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    Well done with Atlantis, regardless of opinions on strict clones and "me too" software you still deserve credit for creating a successful product, you can't argue with sales.

    Anyway I was wondering, how long did this game take you to develop from start to finish, if you don't mind saying, because I remember when you released funpause golf, it was not that long ago - then bam - it *seemed* like just a few weeks later that Atlantis was out and selling. Did you co-develop them?, was Atlantis worked on over time behind the scenes and just happened to come to fruition at that time? Was it a massive dedicated effort to get it out asap?

    Thanks
     
  20. Emmanuel

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    Paul,

    Garden Golf was really launched on april 22 (with PR and all), and I spent a month after that doing updates and fixes.

    The artist started on Atlantis the last week of may, I started programming on june 1st, and the game was put online on july 23rd (with the PR and official launch on july 25). So production time was almost exactly two months; we hadn't done any work before the last week of May. Add a month to that for bugfixes and localization in now 13 languages, and the initial marketing effort.

    Best regards,
    Emmanuel
     

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