Can anything profitable done with this?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Bad Sector, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    These last days i was messing around with a simple 2.5, DOOM-like software renderer in Java (here is a shot). It's always fun to do that stuff - for me - and i really like writing software rendering stuff (the whole story here).

    However, i wonder if there is anything profitable that can be done with this. I slightly believe that there is, since it's done in Java and in theory can run wherever Java 1.4 exists (Mac, Win, Linux to name the popular, Solaris and FreeBSD to name the less popular :) and with some effort it can run from within a browser. Personally i did it mostly for the "impression factor" (put it somewhere in my webpage to impress visitors :-D), since most Java applets i saw are poor raycasting engines :).

    The idea is that, if a consistent style is used, despite the old technology, if gameplay is good, it may make some to buy it. I try to convince myself (see the story i mention above) that if Aveyond and Cute Knight are kick-ass games (especially Aveyond), based on good gameplay but old technology, there is a possibility that such an engine can be used for a good game.

    ATOH, my last attempt to a game with Nikwi, didn't go that well (although when i opensourced an improved version, people liked it - someone even added it to the Debian package wishlist). So i think that it may be wise to ask some more experienced people in that area than me, before wasting time on this (i'm gonna make something at some point, but it will be of a lower priority since i already do other stuff to, like a mobile phone game i'm developing with someone else).

    Of course, i can always make it, put it up for sale, experience the failure and then opensource it :p.

    So, what do you think?
     
  2. Coyote

    Indie Author

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    In theory, yes. But with some big caveats.

    Old - School style engines are fine, but you can't just release DOOM today and expect a big success. Two of the keys to Aveyond's success (and I don't pretend to understand all of them) is that it's got somewhat more modern production values (it doesn't run in 320 x 200 with 256 colors, for example), and it also brought a compelling, original story to a new audience. It's story appealed to women unfamiliar with RPGs as much as old-school gamers (many of whom have since moved on to newer, flashier games).

    Jeff Vogel has commented that many of his customers are also new to RPGs. He's catering to a new audience that has either been abandoned or neglected by the current offerings in the genre.

    Cute Knight is a (reasonably) fresh mixture of old-school dungeon crawling with a social sim.

    I know the screenshot in your article is only a tech demo, but as a consumer I'd take one look at something like that and run away screaming. The repetitive textures alone would give me a headache. Old-school visuals are fine, but they still have to be QUALITY.

    The other thing you'd need to do is innovate. Yeah, innovation is one of those stupid words that nobody seems to have a good definition for, everybody claims they wants, but (almost) nobody buys. But in all of the examples above, the games are somehow FRESH (at least to their audiences). Even brand-new, AAA-quality First Person Shooters are often stale before they hit the store shelves. You have to have some kind of marquee approach or twist which you can advertise to let people know why your game is different and worth playing.

    You also want to choose a manner of gameplay that will play to your strengths, not your weaknesses. A raycasting-style DOOM engine won't cut it for visceral realism that gives most FPS games their "kick," so you'd need to go somewhere else with it.

    Finally, I'd ask, "Why?" Not that I'm saying you shouldn't, but I'm suggesting that you ask yourself if you really should. While it's great that you could write the engine yourself and everything and can theoretically support lots of platforms. But just because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you should. Unless you aren't really trying to make a profit, and are doing it for giggles... in which case, go for it and enjoy!

    But there are tons of engines out there right now with much more advanced features that are well within an indie budget, can do anything yours could do (and much more), have tool support built-in, and support multiple platforms. What is your objective? Make sure your answer to the question of "Why" is one you feel very comfortable with.
     
  3. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    One things I've been thinking more about, is "who am I making this for" and using that as a driver to the design choices I make.

    If you can answer that truthfully and come back with another question "would they want/care about this feature?" in the affirmative, then I'd go for it, if there were any doubts, I'd leave the feature out until I was sure.
     
  4. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    Well, i never said anything about making a FPS with it (although i said that i want to make a FPS in general, at some older topic, which may be the reason).

    I posted the shot in some other gaming forums and the people were generally positive about the idea - if anyone left the forum screaming is something i cannot tell :), but i didn't got any negative response. But what you say about quality is true (someone replied "do it and do it GOOD" - or something like that, i translate from Greek :).

    Although i must note that everyone thought that i was going to make a FPS.

    Fortunatelly my 2D art skills are much much better than my 3D art skills. Combine that with the fact that making content for a 2.5D engine is much easier and faster than for a fully blown 3D engine. For comparison, some years ago i made a nice three levels pack in just two days (a weekend) for DOOM. More recently i tried to make a QUAKE level to practice in 3D leveling... well it took me a week to make ONE level and it isn't something i would call good, although i tried hard to put details here and there and make sure it plays well.

    I don't plan to do DOOM and i don't expect a big success. I'm gonna do it at some point, i just wonder if i gain anything financial from it (so to put it in a higher priority).

    Oh, yeah, i'm not gonna use 320x200x256 (although i'll support it, since it's Java we're talking about :).

    As of "why", well i think that my blog post says it all. But to summarize (since this post is big): i'm doing it for the fun of making it :). I'm not asking if i should do it or not, i'm asking if there's anything i can gain (in $$) from it :).

    From what you said, i got a "yes, but it needs quality", which sounds logical to me :).
     
  5. Sparks

    Original Member

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    There's no problems or whys,there's only opportunities.
    Instantly, I could imagine a toony racing game like the good old Super Mario carts on the SNES (or Fzero).
    I could imagine a dungeon fantasy game like Eye of the Beholder or Bard's Tale
    or Might&Magic or even Ultima Underworld.
    I could imagine a toony, funny pac-man style game for younger folks, along with weird soundeffects and hilarious gameplay.
    All I can say, based on experience: do it, if You believe in it, otherwise someone else will do it and be successful where You hesitated !
    My only complain: why JAVA.Better use some other language.One that is less prone to give problems on older hardware .
     
  6. Davaris

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    You won't find out until you try. :)

    I think the question you should ask is can you design a game that people enjoy playing? From what I've seen of the success stories here, the game design is more important than the technology used.
     
  7. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    Only for three reasons:
    a. At some point, i want to port it to Mac. Given that my Mac knowledge is close to zero -and totally zero when it comes to development- i think that writing it in Java is the way to go if i don't want to mess a lot with the Mac's internals. Note that currently i own no Mac, so i can't even test the engine. So i hope that Java will aid in the porting to be pain-less.

    b. I want to make it able to run inside a web page as an applet, for demo purposes, etc.

    c. This is actually an extension to "b": If i fail to make anything profitable, i can always put it in an ad conquered page and try to make something from that :).

    @Davaris:
    I know i can design games i want to play - i hope that i'm not the onlyone like myself in the universe :).
     

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