Indie boom imminent?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Aldacron, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. oNyx

    Original Member

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    The minimum system specs you should target for reaching a wide audience is a sliding window. 4-5 years old machines usually (the vast majority of machines aren't used for more than 6 years).

    What Cas said is also true. It's getting easier. Just look at something like Space Invaders. It's so cheap (by nowadays standards) that it's done as a tutorial. However, we always tend to exchange that advantage for a more complex design.

    Well, I think it's great. You can switch to/use a higher level and you can do about any game you like (except those with too much content) as long as you don't use something extremely slow like flash. Oh and basic 3d acceleration becomes also ubiquitous.
     
  2. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Just thought I'd mention that the game I'm working on at the moment will be about 40-50meg in size, and more than likely require (as a minimum) an 800Mhz cpu and fairly recent graphics card to run. It'll be interesting if what Aldacron has mentioned actually holds true, and whether there truly is a market waiting for those who reaching out a little closer to the AAA games. But, from my perspective that crowd already exists. It's been there for some time- a fairly large niche of gamers who sit between hardcore and indie, and who are looking for game creators with the ability to take some risks.

    Let's hope I'm right ;)
     
  3. Chris Evans

    Moderator Original Member

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    It's fine to want your game to run smoothly on a PII 400 Win 95/98. However, remember unlike traditional retail games, most Indie games have a life cycle of at least 4-5 years. Also, more than likely the majority of your sales will come in the latter years.

    So I personally don't see anything wrong with making your minimum specs at around today's mid-range systems. Within a few years when your sales hit full stride, most everyone even on lowend machines will be capable of running your game. Your game may also take longer to look outdated if you target today's mid-range systems.

    Of course, a lot depends on your intended audience. If you specialize in casual games, then it's probably important to get the minimum specs as low as possible. However, I think if you're doing an action game of any sort, then you can afford to be a little liberal with minimum specs. Usually anyone who plans to buy a 3D action/adventure/rpg/fps game will have some kind of 3D hardware acceleration on their computer.
     
  4. Aldacron

    Original Member

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    But we don't have to spend the money they spent. They were on the bleeding edge back then. The bleeding edge has moved on. Much of the development of Q3 (and others) was R&D that we don't need to do. With today's tools creating content of Q3-era quality can be done more quickly than it could then. We don't need to purchase top of the line systems for testing, or hire a team of 10-20 people and pay them each 60K+ per year. We can, today, reach the same level of quality on a much lower budget.

    The Q3 engine will be open sourced by the end of the year. If you follow the approach Prairie Games is taking (releasing a GPLed Q2-engine game commercially) then you can use the Q3 engine for no cost. The Torque engine at $100 is a steal. Plus with all of the low cost content packs, code packs, and free resources you can save a hunk of development time.

    When you think about it, indie games have been competing for some time with the AAA titles of yesteryear. That's nothing new at all.
     
  5. Mark Sheeky

    Indie Author

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    Interesting. As another thread mentioned though, the ideal indie game takes about 3 months and certain genres won't fit in that because content takes time and some games demand content, not just the back-end engine and programming. Thus, F.P.S. games, even those of 3-year old quality probably will not start to flood the indie market. I don't object to being wrong though!

    Mark
    Sound Effects For Game Developers
    http://www.indiesfx.co.uk
     
  6. Coyote

    Indie Author

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    This COULD change, however. There's a lot of free and licensable content out there, now. And guys like Josh Ritter have been busy coming up with tools and procedures to generate content more rapidly than conventional means. And many (if not most) games start with a library of off-the-shelf sound effects.

    The games industry has been gung-ho about adopting many of Hollywood's worst practices... I can envision a day where we adopt some of the more efficient ones as well. Set designers and wardrobe departments don't usually start from scratch with every TV show or movie --- they try and re-use what's already in stock, or what can be acquired cheaply. They focus their custom-design efforts on signature pieces, or very unusual elements - though even then they often start with something else and extend it.

    While we'll never be able to keep up with the sheer quantity of amazing content provided by many of these AAA games, I believe we provide very entertaining and YES, high-quality entertainment in these genres. We just have to provide some originality to the mixture, instead of poor 'me-too' imitations.
     
  7. princec

    Indie Author

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    I think the "ideal" time of 3 months is a comfortable balance point of risk and investment for most indies' financial situation. In theory we could spend a year on a game, but the risk of the extra content failing to produce 4x as many sales is far, far greater than we can sensibly take based on very limited cashflow.

    Cas :)
     
  8. Aldacron

    Original Member

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    Right, I agree with you guys when we talk about the current market. I'm saying that the market will change such that we will be able to afford to work on games with a 1 year+ development cycle, as the number of people willing to buy those games will increase. I'm willing to bank on it in fact, which I am doing with the project I am currently working on. I actually started it last year, but shelved it for lack of time and resources. I've recently taken it up again and expect to spend the better part of a year on it. And that using an existing engine (which I am heavily modifying at the moment).
     
  9. NuriumGames

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    I have taken a different approach, been developing a game for about two years, and will be ready in a pair of monts. I don't know if it will pay off, time will tell. :rolleyes:
     

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