Costik has no idea what indie means

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by cliffski, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. gec

    gec
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    I like that blog but..

    I work in the game industry and I know those guys (Pandmic) well. They didn't merge because they couldn't handle rising development costs, they did it for other business reasons.

    Costs in general are going up, but that wasn't really a problem for pandemic (and I'm guessing it wasn't a problem for bioware, but I don't know.) And as i think many people have already said, the increase in costs is exagerated for all kinds of self serving reasons.

    Pandemic started as a PC game company, and they moved to console. That's a completely different business model, especially as the PC business is changing. I like that bolg, but I think the post is a case of someone interpreting events to fit their own theory when the real reasons may be more mundane.

    I can't imagine what any of those companies have to do with indie development.
     
  2. Sirrus

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    I don't know...

    I don't think Manifesto Games has much of anything to do with the majority of us here are involved in. He wants a way to bring AAA Retail PC games via a better distribution channel. He doesn't want to push BreakQuest or Alien Flux...he wants the Trash's and They Came from Hollywood's (maybe even some Democracy's for good measure).

    Sure, some of us have 'higher' hopes in creating larger games, but the majority of us are fine with making small, innovative, fun titles. I for one have no intention on large developments fitted for a small pipeline.

    In short, I don't see the point in focusing any energy toward him.
    I could be wrong...
     
  3. Abscissa

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    Are you sure about that last part, that it's intentional deceit? I've never worked in the mainstream industry, but from what I've seen and heard it seems that Hanlon's Razor may apply in this case.
     
  4. cliffski

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    Yes absolutely. I've even sat through a lecture from someone stating very clearly and repeatedly that "now is not the time for anyone here to start a new games company". Its common sense. If I had cool staff, the last thing I'd be doing was letting them know how much better they could do working alone.
     
  5. gmcbay

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    Add me to the list of people who think Donkey Konga cost a lot more to make than some people think -- easily millions. In addition to the controller design and the basic game, you've also got music licensing costs for the non-Nintendo songs. But even that is peanuts compared to just R&D and false starts.

    People look at games like Donkey Konga and Katamari Damacy and talk about how simple they are (technologically) and how that proves you don't have to spend a ton of money making a game, but games like that don't just pop out of thin air, I'd be shocked if the teams behind them didn't spend a lot of time playing with MANY different concepts that never got finished. While I certainly commend bigger developers willing to give their teams that sort of freedom to play around, I don't think it can realistically be mapped to some random guy or two working out of a garage. If it could, you'd see a lot more innovation out of indie games than we actually do.
     
  6. NothingLikeit

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    I can agree with that. Like the EA marketing guy saying how expensive games would be and how small studios can't cut it... So I can see where the anger comes from. But Its just ridiculous for either group to discredit the other. As I said, people have thier preferences. Some people will spend money on a game that costs 10 million and sucks over a game that is awesome that only cost 100 bucks to produce. Part of this is customer education, but its also a familiarity thing.

    Some gamers whine about how most games are the same but yet they'll go buy halo 14. But some will actually delve deeper to find new and innovative stuff to sate thier taste. It's kinda like McDonald's Vs. A new resturaunt. You're hungry and there's a chance the new resturaunt may be better but you know McDonald's is at least passable. So i would say we just have to get people to take more risks but they won't.
     
  7. simonbowerbank

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    That might be true if the new restaurant gave you a quater of the meal for free and then the option of paying for the rest, in which case I think you would find most people wouldn't go to Mcdonalds.
     
  8. gpetersz

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    It is just what I wanted to say. :)
     
  9. gpetersz

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    Actually I thought many times about how on earth do they spend that amount?!

    I worked for Appaloossa Ltd. a small company (maybe financially) for 2 years back in 1996/1997. 22 of us (artists about 8 employee, programmers about 7-8 employee, art director, concept artists 3 employee, production manager 1, sound guy 1, music guy 1, testers 2 (and us)) worked on a title called Grossology, released by SegaSoft. We worked around 10+ months (in a bit of hurry). No wonder that Appaloossa brought the "production" to Hungary, it costed in wages around (estimation about the wages I knew, mine and some closer friends there) $1000 / employee (average, artists made between 500-1000, programmers made between 600-1500, 1-2 people probably made more (art director, production manager). It was 22,000 USD / month *11 = 242,000. If I multiply that by 10, that is still "only" 2,500,000.

    Naturally, you have to count other costs (office rent, office workers (around 4 employees), maintenance, hardware, software), but I still can't see how it reaches 10,000,000 for example (don't mention 8 figures!)
    Not to mention again that the whole firm consisted around 4-5 studios, each having 10-20 people and they worked on 4-5 separate projects, so many costs are shared among the income of other projects.

    I don't talk about marketing here, only the production of the master disk.


    Where to the hell they spend that amount??? (for example 25,000,000????)
    Or there are everything in that? I guess the marketing takes at least the amount as the production.
     
  10. ManuelFLara

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    @gpetersz: well, that was in 1996/97, which is a lot in "computer years". Compare FIFA'97 (which I think was still isometric 2D) to X360's, and you'll notice the difference. While previously an artist made all the player and enemy sprites in a month, now an artist makes just a character (model, texture, bump map, low/high detail versions (for normal mapping), rigging, a lot of animations..). On your game worked 22 people for 11 months, and _in Hungary_ that costed arond $250K. Now consider a current top AAA game, which can involve like 100 people and several years (let's say three), that's 100*3*12 = 3600 salaries, and if the company is placed in the US or in Japan (most likely), that would be like what? $3K on average per worker? That gives $10.8M. Then add marketing costs, hiring a Western-Europe orchestra to record the soundtrack, paying for a top level IP like a movie or something, purchasing a lot of 3DSMax, Photoshop and Visual Studio licenses, office (big enough for 100 people) rent for 3 years.. and you can keep adding at infinitum.
     
  11. cliffski

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    yeah but stuffs easier now. I write 20% faster code just because of Visual Assist, and with graphical profilers, much faster PCs, distributed build software and reliable source control and version reporting, its MUCH easier to write games now than even 5 years ago.
     
  12. gpetersz

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    Hmmmm.... you might be right. I haven't thought it through. Maybe I only have strong feelings about this madness. Not maybe, I have... 3 years of developement... it is crazy. :eek:

    I think the more money they put in the less they gain from it. That would worth another topic though... :cool:

    Why do we need an orchestra? I don't know the english word for it, but maybe it is snobbish a bit? If you hear musics from remix.kwed.org (old C64 musics remade), you might find some astonishing orchestral piece by only one man for around 100 euros / minute.... ;) What I want to tell, it might cost some 10,000 USD for "renting" an 100 member orchestra for 1-2 days to record game music, but will it be as different than the one guy piece when you hear it at PC speakers? Does it really needs 1000 times the cost?

    On the other side, I found Robocop 2D, a retro remake piece (I love retro remakes too...) what is a freeware 1 man piece. It is very professional (2D, scroller, old-timer) altogether (Parks Productions) and gave me 1-2 hours of pure joy until I finished it and I plan to replay it at a harder level.

    This 1-2 hours are more that I got from Doom3... (meaning no harm to D3 fans!)

    Okay, Okay, I know it is phylosophical and was discussed 1000 times at this forum...

    I welcome many AAA titles, and love to play them, I just shocked by the numbers flying around...
     
  13. cliffski

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    I know what you mean. Not only do games seem to think they need an orchestra now, they want a BIG NAME orchestra. And that bloke who says "Hey welcome to the army space cadet" suddenly needs to be a hollywood actor earning 6 figures.
    And every GUI object needs a different mouseover sound. Every level needs intro FMV at huge expense. The tutorial MUST be spoke, (recorded in 12 languages) as we are all too stupid to read.last years engine is ANCIENT and needs replacing with the latest buzzwords. this is why they waste 8 million on a game.
     
  14. Savant

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    And movies. And TV shows. And Broadway productions.

    People like high end entertainment. People like celebrities, flash and lots of eye candy.

    There's nothing wrong with delivering that when you have an audience that will buy it.
     
  15. NothingLikeit

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    What does indie mean to you

    Okay I must take issue with the original title. I mean how exactly are indies being defined here? Are you only indie if you have a certain amount of income or have a two person team? Or does your status with a publisher make you so? If we're defining independent studios as I am, which is developers not owned by a publisher. Then Id could be defined as an Indie.

    Indie as a term seems to carry this romantic mystique about it. Look at film most people feel that indie films are naturally better and more poigant simply because they weren't made by a major studio. These people forget that star wars was an indie film once upon a time. People also feel that indie music has an underground vibe and hate it when these musicians "sell out" by going to a major label. Indie games aren't any better than mainstream games. A game that sucks is a game that sucks period. Independent games/movies/music is simply another means of developing and releasing something not a magic automatically better game formula
     
  16. Greg Squire

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  17. cliffski

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    the problem is that the industry only has so many customers. do you want 3 10million dollar games released a year? or maybe 1 10million dollar game, and a thousand or more smaller, lower budget games. I'd prefer some choice thanks, as most blockbuster games just irritate me in the way they are dumbed down, cliche-ridden and genericised.
    If people want to waste 10 million on an FPS, thats up to them. It just bugs me when they churn out phrases like "you can't make a video game for less than that nowadays". Its just pathetic attention-grabbing waffle to justify their own inefficiency. and its not true. You dont hear film directors say "you just cant make movies for under a million" because they know its nonsense.
    Was Rollercoaster Tycoon a 10million dollar game? nope, yet its made $180million.
    Like it or not, some of the real idiots in this industry actually ENJOY bragging about how much their games cost. How on earth can you expect efficiency in that climate?
     
  18. electronicStar

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    I have noticed that more and more productions use eastern europe orchestras, they play as well as western ones (probably even better) and they must be cheaper.
     
  19. Sirrus

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    Being the AP on Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, I'd have to say that too bad RCT3 wasn't as cheap ;)

    But your right, innovation definately won out over glitz and costed a lot less to buy out. Can that be duplicated now adays? Not so sure...
     
  20. Jack Norton

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    A bit of spam maybe, but related to the discussion:
    www.etrom.net

    ETROM - a 3d RPG made by SIX italian guys. Not a ultra AAA title but quite nice I think. Budget? zero :D
     

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