How *not* to make it as an Indie...

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by wazoo, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. wazoo

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    After several false starts in trying to get something accomplished as an Indie, I think I'm finally on my way..*cross fingers*

    I thought I'd post some thoughts for others who might be starting out but are having a difficult time getting started.

    1 - It honestly doesn't matter what platform or language you use. Everyone here gets VERY focused on what version of DirectX you should use, or what language you should/shouldn't use. Why you should/shouldn't use OpenGL/blitz/torque/SDL/etc...

    Bottom line: Who cares? The top priority should be finishing the game (especially if this is your first).

    2 - See 1. It's so important you should read it 2x

    3 - Sometimes knowing TOO much about everything can slow your progress. I envy those who only know how to use Blitz3D for example. My problem is that I'm fairly knowledgeable about a lot of the tech....which causes me several delays similar to those Ogre units from Warcraft2:

    "*This* way" "-No *that* way!"

    Pick a language, pick a platform and just go for it. Ignore the constant "noise" around the pro's and con's of each. Once you get serious and actually finish some games THEN I think you can make more of those "business focused" decisions based on what you want to make and how you're trying to reach.

    These are just my 2 cents, but I'm just so happy to be back Indie-style.
     
  2. Nexic

    Indie Author

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    To be honest I would disagree with you to some extent, choosing a good platform is important. However of the ones that are good, you shouldn't really spend too loong thinking about them. Just stay away from DirectX 8+, anything that refuses to be wrapped (gamemaker for example), or anything that is too slow (DarkBasic).

    Also you should try not to use up too big a budget for your first title, as there is a good chance you won't make it back. Instead try something low budget to get experience. Then once you know what you can realistically expect you can remake the game with higher production quality, or go for something else. But getting a couple of games out will teach you exactly what you can expect.

    Another way to fail is to make games that clearly aren't popular, like I do!
     
  3. KNau

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    I second that one! Although I can counter your Dark Basic argument since my first and financially most successful game was done in DB. But I understand your point and I would never go back to it :)

    From my own experience I will add that you should also develop games that interest you; the old "from the heart vs. chasing the money" argument. If you are making a game that you love then you are more likely to do it well and more likely to succeed. The net is littered with shoddy, half-assed puzzle games designed to cash in on the milf market. You don't have to go that way to make good money, in fact the growing body of evidence shows it's a sure recipe for failure.

    My first game was made because it's something I thought would be fun to play and it has done the best. I followed it with 2 crappy puzzle games that bombed horribly. I followed those with a generic puzzle game that I was fun (a mix of the two strategies) and achieved mixed results, still mostly bad.

    Whenever I get around to making another game it's going to be something that I want to do for fun because it's in having fun and showing off that you will produce your best work.
     
  4. Ska Software

    Indie Author

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    You should use VB6/.NET and DirectX 7/8/9.
     
  5. SquareDanceSteve

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    I agree, personaly I like vb.net 2003 with managed directx9

    :)
     
  6. Omega

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    I thought vb.net was a no no for games? Plus isn't it decompilable?
     
  7. wazoo

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    Yup those are good points

    I thought your game was DX8+...so you're saying even 8.1 is a bad idea?
     
  8. wazoo

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    ??

    Not that I've ever heard.

    I guess it depends on your overall "plan" as well. Using .NET may not pay off so much right now, but it will probably eventually be the standard...

    *shrug*

    Like I say, pick the language/platform you love to work with and something will happen.
     
  9. SquareDanceSteve

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    there are a number of tools designed to protect managed code.


    Really does it matter if anyone decompiles our code?
     
  10. Nexic

    Indie Author

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    Wazoo, one of my older games, Arch Wing required DX 9 and had pathetic sales. All my other games need DX 7. But as XP comes with 8 you could probably get away with it :)
     
  11. Sharpfish

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    Can't agree with the "steer clear of DX8+" comment, as there are a number of games requiring that on many portals and in some top tens. Also it depends what features of D3D you are using (i.e fixed function = more compatible, programmable pipeline = limiting your audience to those with decent graphics cards).

    <edit> - DX9 is a different matter - though it is a "better api" (improved internally over DX8) it is far less common. Xp comes with DX8 and is a massive portion of potential target audience...). So unless you need specific features from a high DX version go with as LOW as you can while still being able to get on with the development. I think being completely oblivious to the impact of the api you use is pushing the "just get on with it" thing a bit too far. If you do this, chances are you will be back to retro-grade it before long to quieten all the complaints of "won't run - won't buy" from potential customers. </edit>

    I personally would not use .net/managed (or java) because I myself have not been able to run things on different (modern/updated systems) due to lack of runtimes - runtimes that even *I* can not be motivated to install - but if it eases your development pain then go for it. I am now using straight C++ and DX8 with OGL1.2 fallback (with software fallback for 2D games). Trying to get any lower than that at the stage I am at would be pointless as I could spend the next 3 years going round in circles "adjusting" to best practices and never actually releasing anything ;)

    The other choices such as B3D, BlitzMax, PTK, SDL etc are all valid and proven as usuable, you will not go wrong using any of them, but each has it's strengths and weaknesses.

    I can agree that once I stopped worrying about what the best aproach was I got straight back into things and concentrated on the GAME(S) and not the technology.
     
    #11 Sharpfish, Sep 9, 2005
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2005
  12. Nexic

    Indie Author

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    Well as I mentioned, DX 8 is actually probably okay, but DX 9 is a big no no, I can't think of any RA top tens that required that. Or infact, any games that made it onto RA.
     
  13. princec

    Indie Author

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    I don't think so... I gave away the source to Ultratron shortly after release and it hasn't made a blind bit of difference.

    Cas :)
     
  14. Robert Cummings

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    Yeah, I don't see how the source could make a difference, it's pretty ultratron specific.

    I think most source is specific, which is why I don't really subscribe to overuse of OO techniques. You can spend hours getting perfect re-usable code only to never use it.

    What really counts is your input, network and graphics routines etc... not the game source.

    Regarding the topic author's comments:

    I think you're right. Just bloody finish it. You can port it with ease after. Porting my game took a DAY and it's thousands upon thousands of lines of code. Very little really changes, only the syntax.

    So get that game done.
     
  15. wazoo

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    In the immortal words of Hulk Hogan, "Amen brother."
     
  16. ERoberts

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    vb.net is only good for corporate devs (in-house development with a controlle deployment platform), which is what it was designed for. It is not suitable for mass-distributed software, and might never be. Which is a shame, as it is an incredibly productive environment.

    VB6 is a better fit. Almost as productive, and you can get it to run on almost anything
     
  17. James C. Smith

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    There is no black and white. There is no one thing you should or shouldn’t do. They all just influence the outcome in their own way. But no one thing is going to kill it….unless you don’t finish your game.

    I think there are a lot of “tools†that I would not recommend for the development of mess market software. I don’t care if you are making an indie game, a casual game, a retail game, a shareware screen saver, an FTP client, or a word processor. If you want a lot of people to be able to run your software, it is best to avoid .NET and DirectX 9.

    However, I completely agree with wazoo that none of that really matters compared to getting something finished. If you are short on time (working part time), resources (not many people helping you), and experience (haven’t shipped a game before) then you need to use whatever tools will make your life easier and help you stay focused on the task at hand.

    Go ahead and use VB.NET with managed Direct X 9.0c if that is what it takes to help you get your first game done. It will limit how many people can run your software, but not finishing it would limit that much more severely. Trying to code to Direct X 3 in C++ (or some other example of the opposite end of the spectrum) may allow your software to run on more machines, but it could take you a lot longer. Maybe you will still finish the game, but you won’t have time to include all the extra bells and whistles that make it really fun. Choose tools that allow you to maximize the amount of time you spend making the game FUN to play (and maybe even fun to make).

    Obviously it is nice if you can find some middle ground. If Direct X 8 opens up your potential target market by 20%, and it only takes you 10% longer to code than Direct X9, then maybe making that one compromise is worthwhile. But it still may not be worth while if making an indie game is your hobby and Direct X 8 is causing you to be frustrated rater than having fun and being creative.
     
  18. Christian

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    I would like to remark something allready said:

    make games you really *REALLY* like to see done, a game you are PASSIONATE about

    Something is having the drive to finish a game, another thing is to want to finish a game, another thing is no make a game you are interested in, and another completelly different thing is to make a game you are PASSIONATE about.

    I made various games in the past, but i recenlty discovered that trying to get a game that you are passionate about is the BEST way to complete it and enjoy all the development proccess. You dont need to design a game exclusively to yourself, you still can design a game that sells and still be passionate about it.
     
  19. ggambett

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I've recently written a Direct3D renderer for my 2D engine. I aimed for Direct3D 7.0. I've heard many times that its syntax was horrible and whatnot, but I found it quite trivial to do what I needed. Essentially alpha-blended, color-tinted, hardware-accelerated, bilinear-textured rotated quads. What am I supposed to be missing for not using D3D8? I admit it may be way better to do 3D, but for a 2D engine what's the point?
     
  20. mDEV

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    Is it really making that much difference? Can you name a good game that failed to sell because its using DX 9?
     

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