Why indies don't make (much) ...

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Hackman, May 11, 2009.

  1. Nexic

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    I like making money, and yet I'm working on something insanely hard right now. I've come to realise that the amount of money you can make exponentially increases with the amount of effort put into the game.

    P.S I'm pretty sure even an utterly amazing Ikaruga level of quality shmup wouldn't do much better than 'okay' in todays market.
     
  2. Bad Sector

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    They *do* make shmups, although there is a small lack of shmup platformers (note to the rest: he means games like Turrican and Duke Nukem 1, not generic platformers), but there are some out there. They also make browser-based MMO games too, but you don't see them advertised around here. Dunno why. Also there are many multiplayer indie games, even MMOs. Check the Game Tunnel and TIGSource's indie games database sites, there are many games from the above categories.

    What they *dont* do though is make FPS games. I've only seen three games. The first is awesome, but contains too much adventuresauce for my taste. The second will rock your world, but its not really much of a shooter. The third is crap :p. Which probably explains why there is nowhere to be found in the author's site.

    Note that i'm counting only the commercial stuff. Otherwise 8bit killer is awesome. Although i'm probably the only one who would pay for a (extended) commercial version of it :)
     
  3. JasonD

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    We're making a shmup game, Duality ZF, for the Xbox 360:
    http://DualityZF.com/

    I've heard how shmups don't make much $$, and how the market is filled with them, and how the genre is dead. We're major shmup fans, and have been designing and wanting to program them for years. Now we finally are making the game that we want to play -- not the game we believe will best fit the market. We are advertising and doing all the proper PR things to make sure people know about the game. I am interested in seeing how well it does far beyond the $$ it puts into my pocket. I don't believe the genre is dead. I don't believe the hit-genre of the early 90's can just die after the 3D scene arrives. The gameplay existed back then and was fun. And it can still be fun. I believe the genre is overwhelmed with crap, since making a shmup engine really is a very easy thing to do. Making it new and exciting and fun and implementing proper gameplay mechanics is an art form, and we're striving to challenge the best of the best.

    What do you guys think?
     
  4. Musenik

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    I feel the same way. But you're a marketing genius compared to me. By genius I mean both inspiration AND perspiration.
     
  5. JasonD

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    People making games they don't enjoy playing is why the shmup genre is filled with crap. Shmup engines are easy to make, and most game making tutorials use one as a base. I'd say you're on the right track. Keep making the games you understand. If you make games you don't enjoy playing, you'll won't make a good product.
     
  6. Sindarin

    Sindarin New Member

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    My first game will be a platform game. I enjoy playing those a lot.
    My next projects will be Survival horror action games or RPGs. So there. :)
     
  7. PoV

    PoV
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    The straight-up SHMUP genre is incredibly saturated, to the point that stuff that's available freely is more innovative and interesting than the majority of the paid stuff. Blame Cactus. You're still getting regular releases in retail of the popular franchises of yesteryear too. The market that demands it is being served, over-served in fact.
     
  8. electronicStar

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    The only genre that is saturated is the "invaders" and "asteroid" clones.
    If you can pull out a hardcore/arcade shoot em up ( you know the one that requires you to memorize patterns in the levels) then you will have very few competition, even from the mainstream market.
    Yeah Cactus makes great shootemups, but I don't see a lot of other good games (I am not talking of these recent artsy fartsy games with few content)
    That said it will always remain a niche genre because it appeals mainly to the masochists.
     
  9. Sindarin

    Sindarin New Member

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    How about the "breakout", "match3", and the "hidden object" genres? I think there's a LOT of them out there already.
     
  10. JasonD

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    Duality ZF's style is hard-core -- in both player and enemy firepower -- but we have many difficulty levels to allow for newbies to jump in easily. It's unfortunate that all of these clones and simple shooters are classified under the same genre. In this case, the many bad apples ruins the perception of the entire genre. And the only good games are so hard core that they scare people away. However, it just means there's opportunity. We're trying to fill that gap. The only really issue is to get people to look after they've been disappointed time and time again... once they play the game, they'll be happy, but I need to get the controller in their hands first.
     
  11. PoV

    PoV
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    No no, those sub-genres are "done to death". ;)

    The actual serious market for SHMUPS is a fraction of most others. Watching a video like this shows there's already a lot of ground covered. Then you hit something like Shoot the Core, a database of well over 1000 SHMUPS for just the PC. Assuming you could push yourself in to the top whatever quality wise, there's still hardly enough consumers to earn a sustainable living from. I don't have the time to dig up the numbers, but you should be able to find some pretty depressing results for some clearly top tier titles. That's saturation.

    Not to mention, you can watch many SHMUP's unfold on youtube and such sites. Since most are "on rails", you're not really missing out by watching a video.
     
  12. princec

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    I like the style (though, ahem, I hate shmups) - I even sent the link to Chaz to watch :)

    Cas :)
     
  13. JGOware

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    "there's still hardly enough consumers to earn a sustainable living from."

    Especially if you just put all your marbles in 1 basket and do the "years to code 1 game" syndrome. To make any realistic profit you should probably have 4 games in your business plan, each using a reuseable engine, each taking 3-4 months to develop, and finally each game should heavily advertise the other games. There's just no way I would spend alot of time/resources on just 1 shooter, at least not on the pc.

    Re: Duality ZF

    I liked the video as well. If I was going to do a xbox shooter it would be similar to this. I like all the modes you put in. :) Looks like fun!
     
  14. RoadMaster

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    This is an interesting statement to me, specifically because I've heard other people say nearly the exact opposite. That you should spend considerable time on one title that has extremely strong polish because that extra time can result in an exponential increase in sales/publicity. Perhaps this is a theory that switches depending on what kind of project you are making, or what platform you're on. I know for me, it takes a fair bit to get me to pull out a wallet and purchase a game. Usually such an action is only reserved for games that have had a long lead-up time.
     
  15. JasonD

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    Thanks guys.

    I am following the "years to code 1 game syndrome". We have placed about 9 months into Duality ZF. It runs on an engine made specifically for Duality ZF. It's only reusability would be for a sequel which we plan on making, and even so it would have to be reworked largely for that. Why? Because we want Duality ZF to stand out. We are pushing the hardware and software to its limits. We haven't even shown the most intense action in our trailers yet. Imagine 8 fighters at maximum firepower (65 shots per spread, every 4th frame = 7,800 player bullets shot per second), with hundreds of enemies, with thousands of sparks and explosions, and thousands of enemy bullets. We haven't shown it because you can barely tell what's happening. But it runs at 60 frames per second. We're going to legitimately require a "may induce seizures" warning in the game, since it's a flickering mess (p.s. we ensure you can always see enemy bullets no matter what's happening). To get this type of action requires an unreal amount of optimization, especially since XNA runs on top of a ported version of the .NET Compact Framework which barely has floating point support, and no function inlining support (sigh). So, we threw reusability out of the door a long time ago, unless it's for another shmup.
     
  16. Nexic

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    I disagree. I tried the approach of making lots of games in the same genre (7)and pretty much failed. Sure there were some cross sales going on but generally speaking each title had such low numbers that it made no significant difference. In my case 6 months per title wasn't enough to make anything competitive.

    On the flip side, when I eventually tried the "years to code 1 game" approach I made tons of money. Obviously it's a very high risk approach for a first title, but if you've already got a lot of experience I'd definitely suggest going that route as the rewards are exponential.

    I would expect Duality to sell quite well based on what I've seen.
     
  17. Jack Norton

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    I think it's also related to the fact that you changed completely genre :)
     
  18. Nexic

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    Not totally, it's still a shooter.
     
  19. JasonD

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    That means a lot coming from someone doing well in the indie scene as a shoot em up developer. When I first found your company, I was happy to know that it can work for someone who loves this genre above all others. I like many types of genres, and will tackle a few of them, but my heart lies with the shooters...
     
  20. Jack Norton

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    Well you can't really compare a flash zombie MMO shooter with the classic ones :) for example no piracy is possible and that alone makes a huge difference.
     

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