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Read December 24, 2005, 12:09:04 AM #0
Matt McFarland

Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

I think that a lot of things that would really make Today's shooters better and easier to use amongst the people that aren't so computer savvy, or haven't touched the retro games we may have been influenced by.

Things I'd like to see in Today's shooters are:

1. Profile Managament - Something close to what PopCap games uses on all of their products (as I am aware) and would allow easy saving, loading, etc for the casual gamer.

2. Difficulty Settings, Make easy, EASY - I think that if the game is too hard (especially in the first few levels) then a lot of people will turn it off and never play again no matter how great the graphics and sound are.

3. GUI - All games should come with a GUI Library included.  This means that users will be able to use a windows-like system, skinned to your pleasure, and it is something they are used to.  Many games these days have a UI.  The Arrow key selection thing seriously has to go.

4. Control - I think that the game has to have some options on controlling the ship, I think that mouse should be mandatory these days, but you must include keyboard, and gamepad too. I also feel that the control should feel as natural as possible..

5. Compatibility - The game should definately use Delta Timing, if not, then you're going to have some issues all across the board.  After using Delta Timing, I think that it should be able to run on slower machines.  If your game holds lots of effects, put an option in the game to lower the graphic content down a bit.



I really do believe that if you add what I have above, your shooter will do better as shareware.  If I missed something let me know, and even though I haven't finished my game yet I still firmly believe what I said sells!!  Mainly because I know what I like to buy, and I like quality, who doesn't??
« Last Edit: December 29, 2005, 01:59:42 AM by Matt McFarland »

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Read December 24, 2005, 05:10:13 PM #1
caseyd

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

What is delta timing? I think I know what it is, just not under a specific name.
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Read December 24, 2005, 05:28:06 PM #2
Matt McFarland

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

Well Delta Timing causes "Frame Skipping" on slower machines which is necessary for the game to run exactly as it runs on your computer.  If you go by a "step" process then if a machine is slow, things will move slower, instead of where they are supposed to be.


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Read December 24, 2005, 05:40:52 PM #3
unknowm

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

I just want to state another opinion on three points.

2. Easy mode's should be allowed but the whole style of shooters is to make them very hard and require memorisation of the levels which allows you to get through it perfectly. With it being too easy the sense of reward will be taken away which is definitly a bad thing.

4.Regarding spaceship type shooters,  Mouse control for  cannot be as precise as keys, and precision is required for shooters so I dont think a moue controlled shooter could be as in depth as one with a more accurate control system. It would work for somthing like metroid though.

5. Dodonpachi and Radiant silvergun use the lack of delta time to great effect, i.e.huge huge numbers of bullets slow down the game, so you  actually have a chance.
Its not done in-game as such but when you kill a boss in Ikaruga or Gradius V everything slows down because of the massive number of explosion sprites... Of course the effects could be done with delta time, if you mesure the number of bullets and multiply the dt by some slowdown faction, which is more suitable for current games because you will get a higher frame rate, but of course the problem with this is frame skip when some background process takes the CPU power away and causes you to run into a bad guy across the screen in one frame. Its a consideration you have to make for youself.

 
Read December 25, 2005, 12:03:47 AM #4
Matt McFarland

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

2. Easy mode's should be allowed but the whole style of shooters is to make them very hard and require memorisation of the levels which allows you to get through it perfectly. With it being too easy the sense of reward will be taken away which is definitly a bad thing.

I agree that a sense of reward is great, but if a game is too hard then the frustration isn't worth the reward (for me atleast) I do believe that games that do have a frantic effect are also pretty fun.  I'm definately more on the hardcore side myself, I dont like games to be TOO easy.  At the same time, I do feel that if you're marketing to the swelling casual market, I think that it wouldnt be bad to make it pretty easy at first.

4.Regarding spaceship type shooters,  Mouse control for  cannot be as precise as keys, and precision is required for shooters so I dont think a moue controlled shooter could be as in depth as one with a more accurate control system. It would work for somthing like metroid though.

Well, honestly I prefer mouse control (I know its not very close to my roots now is it!!) but I dont mind playing games with the keyboard or gamepad.  If the programmer makes the mouse control easy, then it is pretty easy to play.  My upcomming game will feature all 3 controls.  I think the more options over control you have, the more people you are going to get to enjoy the game.  As I really believe that its up to the player and what they were used to and what type of games they are used to playing.

5. Dodonpachi and Radiant silvergun use the lack of delta time to great effect, i.e.huge huge numbers of bullets slow down the game, so you  actually have a chance.
Its not done in-game as such but when you kill a boss in Ikaruga or Gradius V everything slows down because of the massive number of explosion sprites... Of course the effects could be done with delta time, if you mesure the number of bullets and multiply the dt by some slowdown faction, which is more suitable for current games because you will get a higher frame rate, but of course the problem with this is frame skip when some background process takes the CPU power away and causes you to run into a bad guy across the screen in one frame. Its a consideration you have to make for youself.

I do agree that when the game slows down with lots of explosions that's very cool.  Still, I think timing is very important because it really goes beyond just what you see when you implement delta timing.  Such as level creation goes.  If someone has a super fast machine or slow machine, the guys could spawn differently and actually overlap or hardly appear.  I think that a game has to be based on time, rather than cycles.


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Read December 25, 2005, 11:43:19 AM #5
oNyx

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

>5. Compatibility - The game should definately use Delta Timing

No. It only makes matters worse. If a game runs a tad too slow its still playable, whereas it becomes totally unplayable with frameskipping.

Pick your minimum system requirements (eg 500mhz + geforce1 or better) and ensure that it runs there at full speed (60fps) and thats it.
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Read December 25, 2005, 11:47:36 AM #6
jbadams

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

4. Control - I think that the game has to have some options on controlling the ship, I think that mouse should be mandatory these days, but you must include keyboard, and gamepad too. I also feel that the control should feel as natural as possible..

I'd definately agree that you need to include keyboard support these days, and gamepad support would be a welcome addition to the many games that don't include it.  You should certainly never have a game targetting the PC platform that only offers gamepad support, you cut out too many people.  The main thing I wanted to mention however is in regards to keyboard support - if you're doing it, do it properly - make your best effort at designing an intuitive keyboard layout, but you should also allow the user to remap the functions to keys of thier own choosing.
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Read December 27, 2005, 04:35:29 PM #7
Indiepath

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

If you can't play with the mouse then give up now.




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Read December 27, 2005, 10:00:58 PM #8
2dguy

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

"Well Delta Timing causes "Frame Skipping" on slower machines..."

Well, that's not accurate unfortunately. Wink

Delta Timing is real time and basically makes you think like ...

"How far will my ship travel in 1 second?"

So if the frame rate is 20 or 60 the sprite will still get to point a or point b at the same time.

sprite.x = sprite.x + (delta * sprite.xspeed)

"but of course the problem with this is frame skip when some background process takes the CPU power away and causes you to run into a bad guy across the screen in one frame.."

Nope, you "throttle" your delta so it never goes over say a 20 fps spec, then if the user machine does indeed get slow for a spell, you get the cool effect of slowdown, but the delta never goes past a point that would cause a major problem as described above.

re: Design..

I'm very old school, probably the oldest one here. Make it easy to play, give em some eye candy fairly quick, and let em have at it. Wink

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Read December 27, 2005, 10:20:53 PM #9
Captain Blood

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

Can't stand mouse control in action games.  I got 4 playstation dual shock joypads plugged into my PC and I choose to use them (not all at once obviously).  Just simply won't play most games that have mouse control only.  I don't even use the mouse for Windows most of the time these days mainly due to health reasons which make it very hard to keep the mouse stable, but even before I had those troubles, I just hated the feeling of mouse controls in any game that didn't have a pointer on screen.
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Read December 27, 2005, 10:21:48 PM #10
Matt McFarland

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

Can't stand mouse control in action games.  I got 4 playstation dual shock joypads plugged into my PC and I choose to use them (not all at once obviously).  Just simply won't play most games that have mouse control only.  I don't even use the mouse for Windows most of the time these days mainly due to health reasons which make it very hard to keep the mouse stable, but even before I had those troubles, I just hated the feeling of mouse controls in any game that didn't have a pointer on screen.

A good reason why you should have many control options....


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Read December 28, 2005, 12:03:23 AM #11
oddbob

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

AFAIK - the shooters that have truly been succesful as shareware have been so by first and foremost, concentrating on not pandering to people in any way shape or form to begin with. Thats not to say they don't have certain features you'd absolutely expect, but trying to second guess what people want is a surefire way to head off the way so many portal shooters do - they're pretty but ultimately soulless and empty.

Shareware Shmup successes* that I can think of off the top of my head:

Gridrunner++.

Its purely 100% mouse control, and its the only shareware shooter I've ever played where mouse control *works*. Technically, there isn't even a fire button (excluding the sheepie zapper) yet it remains as challenging and intense and playable as any game on the market. Ok, its a bit unfair to include it as its clearly in a league of its own - but there's so many things that can be learnt from it, download the trial version (or buy it, its only a fiver) from the Llamasoft site and see just how many different subtle levels it works on. Everything has audio or visual clues, it has a "personal best", it has power up recoverys (and no power downs because everyone knows power downs are bad, right?), it also gets increasingly difficult and has those essential levels that provide you with an immense sense of relief when you finally get past it.

It also proves that mouse control can be just as twitchy as keys or a good stick (oo-err).

Mutant Storm

Its a slightly easier Robotron really isn't it? But its sold a ruck and its on XBLA now. It also doesn't budge an inch from traditional shooter territory, everything is in place from the power ups to the predictable waves, yes - it has difficulty levels, yes, its expandable, yes, there's multiple control methods - *but* it never tries to pander to you or assume the player is dumb. Start with the assumption that the person downloading your shooter *wants* a shooter experience and you're off to a good start. Assuming that the person downloading your shooter wants a casual game experience, and you're off on the wrong foot straight away - people who want casual game experiences had match three games invented for them.

Spheres Of Chaos.

The ultimate example of a configurable game, there's very little you can't change and tinker with - and importantly, you can see what you're playing with and how every option will change the way you have to play the game.

And to pull a game thats not shareware out of the hat, but instead hidden inside another game. Geometry Wars has sold more copies of PGR:2 to people once word got out and warranted enough demand for it to get a sequel thats a  stand alone XBLA game. And its one of the toughest games I've ever had the pleasure of playing. It takes no prisoners, there's no difficulty settings, there's no options beyond press start and stay alive. 

I promise you, that there's a huge market that people larger than the casual game market gagging for a shooter that takes no prisoners and grabs them by the balls and gives them a pure adrenalin rush - and its a market that due to the rise of the portals is increasingly being ignored. Most of these people are 30+ with large amounts of disposable income. They're the kind of people who will buy an Xbox360 for Geometry Wars:Retro Evolved alone.

If you can capture that market, you've cracked it. Word of mouth will spread before you know it. If you aim for the portals, then you're aiming for the disposable, fleeting market. Once your game is off the top 10, its nothing to the consumer and its nothing to the portal.

Course, it all depends on wether you prefer 10 minutes of fame or longevity Cheesy

My best advice? Play loads of games, from Space War onwards - work out why things work and go from there - most of all, make a game that you want to see made. Design by committee will always show through - it does in commercial games, in films and in magazines, whereas a true personal vision? It can't be beaten Smiley

*by success I mean turnover and in terms of game design.

**this is all just my opinion and I am rather outspoken so feel free to disagree or call me a crazy old fool


Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.
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Read December 28, 2005, 07:17:33 AM #12
Indiepath

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

The title of this thread is "Molding a shooter into the Casual Market", that means mouse as the primary control. Does it not? Or has this thread become "Indie developed shooter to show off our technical excellence". Tongue




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Read December 28, 2005, 11:29:37 AM #13
oddbob

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

The title of this thread is "Molding a shooter into the Casual Market", that means mouse as the primary control. Does it not? Or has this thread become "Indie developed shooter to show off our technical excellence". Tongue

Surely, that would be "molding a shooter into the Reflexive portal market" as opposed to the casual market?

*edit* Just to clarify, surely you make the control method appropriate to the product as opposed to the other way round. For instance: Something like Zuma would be hellish on keyboard or joypad, therefor mouse control is the preferred option, equally with a match 3 - mouse control is much more convenient - whereas with a shooter, its *highly* inappropriate to use mouse control for the most part as it just doesn't give you the necessary control to get the most out of the game. As I stated in my post, the amount of shooters that succesfully pull off mouse control is minimal.

Assuming that the casual market is the incapable market is a severe flaw in the model, in my opinion and potentially good games can immediately be crippled by the assumption that the user is incapable.

« Last Edit: December 28, 2005, 11:51:20 AM by oddbob »

Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.
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Read December 28, 2005, 11:53:40 AM #14
Captain Blood

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

3. GUI - All games should come with a GUI Library included.  This means that users will be able to use a windows-like system, skinned to your pleasure, and it is something they are used to.  Many games these days have a UI.  The Arrow key selection thing seriously has to go.

Why exactly?  By a windows-like system you mean mouse controlled and all that?  Now I don't wanna be using mouse at all in game, so I sure as hell don't wanna have to use it in the menu's too.  All I want out of a shooter's control and interface is just a nice joypad controlled system where I can just sit back comfortably, joypad in hand, and just enjoy the game.
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Read December 28, 2005, 12:16:36 PM #15
Matt McFarland

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

Yeah well, see Captain Blood, the thing is.... I agree with you that it's good enough the way you describe.  But if you want it to be accepted in the Casual Market, I think you're going to need to have a fancy interface.  Mouse controlled, keyboard, and gamepad.. That way you get folks from the casual market and folks from the hardcore market.  Since the Casual market is growing in size right now, and I have no idea about the hardcore marke, then I would tailor my game to the casuals more. 


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Read December 28, 2005, 12:31:26 PM #16
Captain Blood

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

What exactly is the casual market?  Since I don't play many games these days, preferring 'offline' activities so does that make me a casual gamer?  I would have thought the casual market would be more into console games and be more used to the way those games work.
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Read December 28, 2005, 12:41:00 PM #17
Matt McFarland

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

http://www.realarcade.com

http://www.bigfishgames.com

There's your casual market.  It's filled with puzzle games.. No, the console market is not the casual market, in fact its quite the opposite!!  A casual game is something with a very light learning curve, requires no past gaming experience, and something people spend 10 minutes or so on(sometimes more, if they get addicted) The casual market is swelling so big that even Microsoft wants a peice.  The XBOX 360 Live ARCADE will have casual games..


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Read December 28, 2005, 12:47:30 PM #18
paladin

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

that's what the casual market is to me too - a market of casual gamers.  sure, the casual market as a whole is saturated with consolers but i imagine we're talking about the PC casual market which consists of gamers like yourself who aren't hardcore.

casual PC gamers tend to desire a well-rounded, easy to install game that is visually pleasing, fun from the start and doesn't require a lot of thinking.  hardcore gamers would think that would require a developer to kind of "sell out" and shy away from developing a good solid game.  others may believe otherwise, but in the end it all boils down to being able to please everyone (which will never happen).

best way to get a shmup into the casual PC market is to offer at least 3 difficulty settings, multiple control options and good ambient music that doesn't stand out too much.  and use lots of skittle colors!   Grin
« Last Edit: December 28, 2005, 12:49:21 PM by markd »

needs more particles...
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Read December 28, 2005, 12:51:27 PM #19
oddbob

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

The casual market is predominantly what I once saw described as the "MILF market" on Indiegamer. You're looking at 30-50 year old women with click thru power as your customer base for the most part. And to a degree, yes - the casual gamer market could be said to be expanding, personally, I prefer to see it as "saturating" rather than "expanding".

The ease of getting onto portals means that you've got a drastic increase in people making games for the casual market. But what exactly does the casual market want? Well, lets take a look at the current top 10 on Reflexive:

1. Mystery Case Files: Huntsville (Puzzle Game)
2. Ricochet Recharged (Breakout Clone)
3. Luxor (Puzzloop clone)
4. Big Kahuna Reef (Puzzle)
5. Poker Stars Invitational (Puzzle)
6. Kasparov Checkmate (Chess)
7. Ricochet Lost Worlds (Breakout Clone)
8. Bejewelled 2 (Puzzle)
9. Jewel Quest (Puzzle)
10.Mah Jong Quest (Puzzle)

Now, there's  a very clear pattern here. Now, one of the important things to remember about portals is that after your week in the "new" section is up - then unless you begin to make the Top 10 or get Featured Game, then you're looking at, on average, a 50% drop in sales *each* month until you flatline.

The first shooters show up on the 10-20 section, Crimsonland and Alien Shooter - both of which had already made a name for themselves *before* appearing on a portal - both of which aren't what you'd call traditional shooters (although as a concession, you could say Crimsonland has a very loose origin in Robotron, but it'd be a stretch). After that, you're looking at maybe 1 in each successive 10 games as you work your way down through the list.

So, no shooters in the Top 10 - which means the sales life of your game, unless its the one to buck the trend is *severely* limited if its tailored to the casual market. To which, we can summise - specifically tailoring a shooter to the casual market could be seen as cutting off your nose to spite your face - or, to put it another way, its eliminating your actual market for the game.

Maybe, once the bubble bursts on the match 3 market (after all, there's only so many clones and variants you can throw out there before the market caves in on itself - its happened before to the industry and doubtlessly, it'll happen again) the portals may be forced to shift their focus onto other genre's. Until that point comes, its probably preferable to make a game that can appeal to everyone and *then* tailor it to a Portal system to capture that market as an aside to your main market, who are the people who actually buy shooters.

Just IMO of course Cheesy


Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.
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Read December 28, 2005, 12:55:55 PM #20
Captain Blood

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

Ugh.. the RealArcade one is full of the types of things I had to do when I worked for mobile phone game companies, devoid of style, imagination, creativity or even charm.  Nah I'm not interested in this at all.  Something about it reminds me a lot of the manufactured pop music market.  Developing a shooter for that market is going to be difficult.

Sorry for taking up some of this topic.
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Read December 28, 2005, 12:59:40 PM #21
Matt McFarland

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

Honestly?  I'm going to try to sell to thisi market.. I'll let you know if it was a bad decision after it's all said and done Wink  However, I DO like hardcore shooters very much Smiley  I'm going to try to win both.. with more on the casual side.. That's what I'm doing with m game anyways.. I hope I'm not cutting my nose off Tongue


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Read December 28, 2005, 01:53:53 PM #22
paladin

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

if you succeed with both casual AND hardcore markets then you, my friend, are a master and i will sell my soul to you.


needs more particles...
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Read December 28, 2005, 02:38:26 PM #23
joe

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

Some Galaga/Space Invaders Clones was rather successful in the past on these portals like Atomaders or  Alien Sky, but they are also very easy shooters.


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Absolute Blue - Side-Scrolling Shoot'em'up-Game
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Read December 28, 2005, 02:58:37 PM #24
cdoty

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

I think a shooter would appeal to a casual gaming market if it has a distinct style (Parodius for example) and was easier to play (or less difficult). I would be willing to bet many people that would not normally play a shooter, played Parodius.

Nintendo has pretty much proven that a game can appeal to a typical non gamer, if it's wrapped correctly.

The one difficult challenge is getting women (a big part of the casual gaming market) interested in shooters.
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Read December 28, 2005, 04:43:04 PM #25
oddbob

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

I think a shooter would appeal to a casual gaming market if it has a distinct style (Parodius for example) and was easier to play (or less difficult). I would be willing to bet many people that would not normally play a shooter, played Parodius.

Nintendo has pretty much proven that a game can appeal to a typical non gamer, if it's wrapped correctly.

The one difficult challenge is getting women (a big part of the casual gaming market) interested in shooters.


Yup, I think a consistant style is one of the most important things you need to achieve in a game, and for me (sorry Joe) its one of the points that Absolute Blue failed on.

The assumption that because you're making a shoot-em-up it has to involve dark 3d models (I'm not referring to AB here, just a fair few shareware shooters in general) or creating a sci-fi world isn't necessarily the correct one to make. Sexy Parodius works, because despite the fact its slightly off kilter - it has a definitive and instantly recognisable style.

If you play a Eugene Jarvis game, there's no mistaking it as Euge, if you play a PomPom game - there's no mistaking it as a PomPom game, the same for Minter et al - and the one thing they all have in common, despite being wildly different is that you're sucked into the world they want you to be in through consistancy in design. Its not about showing off what you can do technically - after all, whilst technically brilliant, the ABA games look fantastic despite their graphical simplicity as the game world is consistant. The same applies to Cas' Puppytron/Ultratron, Super Dudester, Alien Flux games IMO.

To a degree, as long as it looks clean and professional (which doesn't necessarily mean elaborate models) and it plays well - then thats half the battle won. Strip T2k of its trippy graphics and it would still remain a great shooter. Its not like an MMORPG where you have to hide the lack of depth by creating a world full of pretty tree's and hills. Like puzzlers, shooters have a lucky place in the market whereby to a degree you can bypass graphical complexity (on a puzzling note, would Tetris be improved by rendered models? would Gunpey be any better for having more than the most basic line graphics? Yet, they're two of the finest examples of Puzzle games out there)

The Nintendo comparison is a *very* good one, as they do succeed in making different genre's more accessible and if it means wrapping it up in a fluffy gameworld whilst still retaining the most important factor - gameplay, then so be it. (Although having said that, my missus loved Metroid Prime - go figure!)

I'm still unsure of the need to make games easier though, a well designed game shouldn't kick your arse the moment you turn it on. A lot of the Popcap puzzlers, by way of example here, start off relatively easy but aren't afraid of beating you about as you progress further into them - its down to the difficulty curve being balanced correctly. There's no shame or harm in leading you in gently then gradually ramping the level up as you progress - I'm sure most gamers would agree, be they from the "hardcore" market or the "casual" market that if the balance is totally wrong then the game will be written off or thrown in the corner in no time. There's nothing worse than going from one level where you can cruise through it, or scrape through it by the skin of your teeth through your own skill to suddenly going to a level whereby the game design itself is against you.

Again, another non-shooter example - Psychonauts. A wonderful game from start to very nearly the finish. The final level before it got patched was cruel, badly designed and downright unfair as it ramped up the difficulty to 11. If it wasn't for the absolute joy of everything that came before it and desperately wanting to see the resolution, I'd have thrown it into the corner in seconds. And to pull out a shooter example, there's the classic of Sinistar - a game which could have been fairly balanced but wasn't eating enough quarters and so, come level 2 - its a totally unfair beast after the authors revised it. But we're not in the market of eating quarters (unless you've invented a pay to play system for your game), we're in the market of making games that people will return to.

I guess the point I'm trying to get to, is there shouldn't be a distinction between a hardcore game and a casual game. It should be a game that *anyone* can pick up and play and won't feel that the game is against them in an unfair manner, and I feel that can only be achieved by careful analysis of what makes the games that manage this work in the first place Smiley


Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.
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Read December 28, 2005, 05:03:43 PM #26
Matt McFarland

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

I totally agree with OddBob..  Although I may have a different idea (and may be wrong) about the casual market, I just honestly think that shooters can seriously make their way there strongly.  Following the practical advice given about game balance (man I dont know how hard that is going to be) game style, and gameplay, I feel that evertyone here should seriously help bring fourth the shooter genre unto the people Smiley

What I am trying to say is...  If you guys make the game fun, with high accessability, minimal learning curve, and throw it all together into a nice lil box you'll have yourself somethin' feirce!! Smiley  This is what I am trying to do with my game..  This is my goal.. Make a game that will be accessable to a very broad amount of people, and fun for all..


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Read December 28, 2005, 05:28:58 PM #27
oddbob

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

And I seriously wish you the best of luck with it Smiley

I do think we're fighting from the same corner, just with different words. I'd never say something can't be done, but, making a game is easy, making a good game is so much more difficult.

Making a game with a broad appeal isn't anything to be ashamed of, and if you do it well enough - you'll bridge the alleged gap with no worries.

One of the things I'm finding with my current beta  is there is roughly a 50/50 split on the suggested additions/amendments that will make the final cut. I've had every control method under the sun suggested to me from rotational control, mouse aiming, wasd firing etc... and many many other suggestions for additions and amendments and I've tried each one, beta'd each suggestion to close friends who I trust their game design opinions and seen which breaks the mechanic and which don't. I know I'm never going to please 100% of people, but I'll get pretty close if its the death of me. I know my game is market restricted, but as its freeware - as long as its high quality in terms of looks and play, then thats me happy Smiley


Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.
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Read December 29, 2005, 01:49:43 AM #28
Matt McFarland

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

Ya know.. I do remember seeing Platypus in the Real Arcade top 10 for quite some time..  That was a mouse controlled game if I recall correctly.


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Read December 29, 2005, 02:15:06 AM #29
Captain Blood

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

Ya know.. I do remember seeing Platypus in the Real Arcade top 10 for quite some time..  That was a mouse controlled game if I recall correctly.

It has mouse as default Player 1 yeah.  Personally I felt it handles pretty clumsily, with my mouse anyway.  Much more accurate movement with keys or the joypad.  Not a huge fan of the game myself anyways.  Only load it up now and then to listen to the Comic Bakery tune on level 1
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Read December 30, 2005, 10:07:15 AM #30
Nexic

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

Would just like to point out that Mutant Storm was in no way a financially sucessful game in shareware. The developer has mentioned several times that it's online sales were terrible (though retail sales were better). It was/is on reflexive, and it is right near the bottom if you sort by conversion or best selling.

The reason why is that the game is not suited to the casual market. It's a great game but it's not for this market. It's really hard, there is no music, very retro graphics and sounds, and the controls are far from easy for casual players.

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specifically tailoring a shooter to the casual market could be seen as cutting off your nose to spite your face - or, to put it another way, its eliminating your actual market for the game.

I don't think you need to lose one market to please another, I think it's perfectly possible to do both. Will adding mouse control make hardcore shooter fans less likely to play? I doubt it as long as you keep the keyboard and gamepad controls. Adding an easy mode won't ruin it for hardcore players if they can still play on Hard. I love those hardcore games like Raiden and R-Type, but I also love casual shooters like Heavy Weapon.

It's also important for me to note that starting a website and selling your game without portals and affiliates is not easy. If you don't care about how much money you make and am prepared to work for several years until your own site gets a strong user base, with little pay, then thats fine. But making games that appeal to the casual market it the only real way a new developer can get started and actually make some money for their efforts early on.

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(on Platypus) Personally I felt it handles pretty clumsily, with my mouse anyway.  Much more accurate movement with keys or the joypad.

But that is pretty much the best selling shareware shooter ever. If you wan't to make money then you sometimes have make what the market wants, rather than what you want. It sucks but it's a fact of life.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2005, 10:10:08 AM by Nexic »

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Read December 30, 2005, 12:33:10 PM #31
Matt McFarland

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

Ya know.. I do remember seeing Platypus in the Real Arcade top 10 for quite some time.. That was a mouse controlled game if I recall correctly.

It has mouse as default Player 1 yeah. Personally I felt it handles pretty clumsily, with my mouse anyway. Much more accurate movement with keys or the joypad. Not a huge fan of the game myself anyways. Only load it up now and then to listen to the Comic Bakery tune on level 1

I disagree.  I beat the game with the mouse, and found it extremely easy to control.  I'm really starting to think that mouse sensativity on a user's computer is the culprit to whether a game works good with mouse or not..  This is just a 'hunch' - but I just cant seem to put my finger on why games with mouse are incredibley easy to play on my computer but hard for others.  Would this have to do with your upbringing on the keyboard perhaps?  Or is this due to the fact your sensetivity is way too low or way too high? 


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Read December 30, 2005, 01:05:22 PM #32
Captain Blood

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

I disagree.  I beat the game with the mouse, and found it extremely easy to control.  I'm really starting to think that mouse sensativity on a user's computer is the culprit to whether a game works good with mouse or not..  This is just a 'hunch' - but I just cant seem to put my finger on why games with mouse are incredibley easy to play on my computer but hard for others.  Would this have to do with your upbringing on the keyboard perhaps?  Or is this due to the fact your sensetivity is way too low or way too high? 

No.  Gamewise I used joysticks and joypads for most of the time.  But I did use mouse for more serious purposes  (most notably pixel art which you have to be pretty good with a mouse to do well) for over 15 years until my problems in recent times.  I never much liked using mouse in games (that didn't use a Windows-like interface of some sorts) long before then.  I never liked the general feel of mouse controlled movement in fast paced arcade games.  It just feels totally wrong to me.  And if I do get into a game that has unavoidable mouse control, I'll usually use my Joy2Key setup to map the mouse input to the analogue thumbstick on my joypad which is how I use Windows and do pixel art these days due to wrist problems I have when using mouse, or even sometimes drawing with pen or pencil, these days.  Lately I've been trying to find an old style joystick, one of those shaped like the controls of a fighter plane with the trigger button and the top button like my old Quickshot Python I had for Amiga/Amstrad.  Something about using those in shooter's, particularly vertical ones, added so much more to my enjoyment of the games.  I'm currently looking for one to use on my PC but not having much luck.  That's sorta why I get more interested in console shooters, however obscure the game, as I can at least be guaranteed the good old arcade feel whether it uses joypad or the sticks on the joypad.  Hell if it wasn't for emulation and the odd freeware game I wouldn't even play games on PC.  I just wish there were more good old fashioned shooters where me and a friend could just sit at the same machine, pick up a joypad/stick each and just have a good time on a quality shooter like we used to.  Beautifully done pixel art (whether low res or high res it doesn't matter), great 2 player action, quality soundtrack with actual memorable tunes that gave the game some real character and had ya whistling them on the way to school or college, and a good challenge without being totally unfair.  If anyone could recommend some games like that from recent times I'd very much appreciate it before I give up gaming completely.
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Read December 30, 2005, 01:58:12 PM #33
oddbob

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

Would just like to point out that Mutant Storm was in no way a financially sucessful game in shareware. The developer has mentioned several times that it's online sales were terrible (though retail sales were better). It was/is on reflexive, and it is right near the bottom if you sort by conversion or best selling.

The reason why is that the game is not suited to the casual market. It's a great game but it's not for this market. It's really hard, there is no music, very retro graphics and sounds, and the controls are far from easy for casual players.

To be fair, its something far more important than a financial success, and to be honest - a lot depends on what your definition of financial success is. Its a long term success. It may not pull in thousands of pounds a month like Big Kahuna Reef, the conversion rate may not be impressive in terms of how much a puzzle game on Reflexive can turn over but it makes regular sales on the most important factor *anyone* in the games industry can ever ask for - good word of mouth. So much so, that it was one of the first games signed up for the XBLA and the 360 XBLA *and* warranted enough good faith to have a sequel commissioned.

PomPom get constant good press, MS2 *is* an eagerly awaited release for the 360 by a huge amount of people. I'd sooner the PomPom route than the Warblade route anyday - constantly updating the same game for the rest of your life, churning out screensavers to top up your income just seems so cold and soul destroying to me (as someone who pours myself into games first with no concern for any particular market), and here's the clincher - people know who PomPom are.

A foot in the door is worth two in the bush or something Wink

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specifically tailoring a shooter to the casual market could be seen as cutting off your nose to spite your face - or, to put it another way, its eliminating your actual market for the game.

I don't think you need to lose one market to please another, I think it's perfectly possible to do both. Will adding mouse control make hardcore shooter fans less likely to play? I doubt it as long as you keep the keyboard and gamepad controls. Adding an easy mode won't ruin it for hardcore players if they can still play on Hard. I love those hardcore games like Raiden and R-Type, but I also love casual shooters like Heavy Weapon.

I've already stated in a previous post that any game that wants to sell should be accessible to all and with a smooth difficulty curve. Its not just about setting controls and easy modes - its about nothing more than the purest of the pure - good game design. That, my friend, is what seperates the men from the boys, the wheat from the chaff etc...

It's also important for me to note that starting a website and selling your game without portals and affiliates is not easy. If you don't care about how much money you make and am prepared to work for several years until your own site gets a strong user base, with little pay, then thats fine. But making games that appeal to the casual market it the only real way a new developer can get started and actually make some money for their efforts early on.

Any business needs to be tended to and nurtured, and every effort put in to making it a success. You wouldn't expect to open a shop tomorrow and find yourself with a 10,000 pound turnover straight away, so why should an online business be the same? Plus, if conversion rates are more important to you than the game itself then that really really begs the question of wether you should be making games at all or should instead just pull up a van outside the pub and sell trainers to passing people or just become a 419 scammer instead.

Going the portals route is all well and good, but as theres a concerted move to minimise developers credits wherever possible, how on Earth are you going to make a true name for yourself. You'll be nothing more than "the bloke who wrote that game I got from Reflexive". Whilst portals do *some* things good, they also do an equal amount of harm to the market and anyone starting up as they take advantage of those who want a get rich quick scheme and invite a load of chancers to attempt to get their lucky break. If you're in this for the long haul then portals should only be considered as extra revenue streams and not as your main market. And I know how hard it is to build up a website from scratch, please don't take this the wrong way - but I've been on the internet and around computers an *awful* long time, in fact, longer than you've been on the planet. This doesn't by default make me superior, nor is it meant to - its just a way to illustrate that I've seen the market shift, I've seen behemoths fall and I've seen the markets slump and rise and technology change. Keeping on top of all that and making the best game that you can is, in my eyes, infinitely more important than catching a few quid in the first few months of development. If you're not prepared to put the effort in and accept the hard work, then you deserve nothing more than the fleeting few months of fame that you'll get.

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(on Platypus) Personally I felt it handles pretty clumsily, with my mouse anyway.  Much more accurate movement with keys or the joypad.

But that is pretty much the best selling shareware shooter ever. If you wan't to make money then you sometimes have make what the market wants, rather than what you want. It sucks but it's a fact of life.

Have you got any figures to back that up please? I prefer to deal in cold hard facts with regards to something being proclaimed the "pretty much best selling shooter ever" and would dearly love to see some evidence to back that up. Until then, please don't be offended if I just assume its one more person on the internet making things up. I'm more than open to having the facts presented before me though Smiley

And heres my "it sucks but its a fact of life", the market is *not* always what people would have you believe. Do your own research and find out exactly how many people aren't alligned with this so called market and you'll be surprised. Just because none of the portals tap into a market doesn't mean it doesn't exist, nor does it mean that it isn't huge. It just means theres a whole load of people who's needs aren't being met. Are they any less "market" ?

The portals will have you believe that <x> is the market, because they're in the business of convincing people that its the market where the money is - as, wait for this, its how they make their money!
« Last Edit: December 30, 2005, 02:04:30 PM by oddbob »

Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.
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Read December 30, 2005, 02:26:23 PM #34
Matt McFarland

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

I don't see how making a game that would be succesful on a portal is a bad thing at all, especially if it makes it well everywhere else too.

 I've played PomPom games before and I wasn't impressed, never really like their low poly 3d games to be honest.  I did find their "defender" game fun, but the graphics from PiomPom are aweful, quite frankly just very painful to the eyes.  I am somewhat biased against PomPom's game because low poly 3D games at low resolutions have always (even when playstation 1 just came out!) been rather painful to look at.  Where I founnd platypus fun enough to buy.. hmm.. weird. Anyways.. not trying to hold a "platypus" torch or anything, I just find it the best example because as of recently, it has done the best in shareware.  I mean, its been in the top 10 for weeks. You don't need facts and figures to know its doing well if its in a top 10 that competes with the fast-selling puzzle games now do you?  Cool  Its not in the top 10 anymore, but it remember seeing that claymation game in the top 10 for quite a while..

I agree with Oddrob about it's all in the gameplay that makes the game a hit or not.  At teh same time, I in no way shape or form really want to legally start a business and infrastucture and all of that other stuff with one game in my inventory. No, I'd much rather put my game on as many portals as possible and cross my fingers. If that's a bad idea then let me know, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm would want to maximize my exposure instead of make a tiny corner in the web that no one will ever see. 

If I make a game, I wouldnt want it to be hidden from anyone.. No, I'd want it to be played by as many people as possible Wink  Therefore, portals, YES PORTALS are very good!  I mean, c'mon.  Are you saying that its a bad thing to want to put your game out to download?  MAXIMUM exposure is what it's all about my friends.  Maximum exposure.. Must get everyone to see it, or how else will anyone get the honor of playing your game?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2005, 02:36:14 PM by Matt McFarland »

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Read December 30, 2005, 02:31:05 PM #35
paladin

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

i own a domain on a very fast server... www.strafed.net... let's start our own portal Cool


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Read December 30, 2005, 02:49:02 PM #36
oddbob

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

i own a domain on a very fast server... www.strafed.net... let's start our own portal Cool

To be honest, and joking aside, this is something on my potential *to do* list for the next year or so, I've got the nouse to pull it off and I know what needs to be done to make it work, but I just don't have the time to commit to anything along those lines for quite the forseeable future as the sites I run at the moment take absolute priority over even my own gamemaking Smiley

I don't see how making a game that would be succesful on a portal is a bad thing at all, especially if it makes it well everywhere else too.  I've played PomPom games before and I wasn't impressed, never really like their low poly 3d games to be honest.  I did find their "defender" game fun, but I honestly their graphics were an eyesoar!  I am somewhat biased against PomPom's game because low poly 3D games at low resolutions have always (even when playstation 1 just came out!) been rather painful to look at.  Where I founnd platypus fun enough to buy.. hmm.. weird. Anyways.. not trying to hold a "platypus" torch or anything, I just find it the best example because as of recently, it has done the best in shareware.  I mean, its been in the top 10 for weeks. You don't need facts and figures to know its doing well if its in a top 10 that competes with the fast-selling puzzle games now do you?  Cool  Its not in the top 10 anymore, but it remember seeing that claymation game in the top 10 for quite a while..

Heh, and there we have a perfect example of how tastes can differ. I adore Mutant Storms graphical style, but then, I'm an arty tosser Wink Thats not to say I don't love Anthony's style either - Platypuss is, in looks terms, more than a bit special (and not in a special child way either) - but the game itself is terminally flawed in so many ways (and thats by the authors own admission).

Its also worth noting that one of the reasons that Platypuss is as succesful as it is is partly down to Chris at Retro64. AFAIR (which is poorly at the best of times) Anthony either sees nothing or very little of the profits that Platypuss makes. Of course, without either Anthonys hard work in the first place, or Chris mad market skillz - it wouldn't have achieved as much as it has. But there's definitely a cautionary tale attached to Platypuss, from its inception to now Smiley

But yes, because Platypuss is in portal top 10's does not make it "the most succesful ever". What about Llamatron 2112 or any number of shareware games that came before it? I don't know the sales figures of either, nor am I ever likely to - and until the day comes when I can compare hard facts, everything is supposition and I don't make business choices upon supposition.

I agree with Oddrob about it's all in the gameplay that makes the game a hit or not.  At teh same time, I in no way shape or form really want to legally start a business and infrastucture and all of that other stuff with one game in my inventory. No, I'd much rather put my game on as many portals as possible and cross my fingers. If that's a bad idea then let me know, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm would want to maximize my exposure instead of make a tiny corner in the web that no one will ever see. 

If I make a game, I wouldnt want it to be hidden from anyone.. No, I'd want it to be played by as many people as possible Wink 

No, of course its not a bad idea at all. The whole point of making games *should* be to get it out to as many people as possible and thats one of the things that the portals are incredibly good at *at the moment*. But, looking in the long term as I have an awful habit of doing, I don't think that for the long term - the portal model as is is remotely sustainable for too long. They're already saturating the market and making it harder for people to break through and it will collapse unless it evolves. So, get in there whilst you still can by all means and reap the rewards.

Although, I don't see the problem with starting with just one game and working up - we all have to start somewhere and there was a time when Pete Molyneux only had 1 game, a time where Jeff Minter only had 1 game, where Matthew Smith only had 1 game...

All said and done though, I'm just a naturally cautious person who doesn't like to put all my eggs in one basket Cheesy


Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.
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Read December 30, 2005, 03:04:53 PM #37
Matt McFarland

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

@ Captain Blood:  You should seriously consider playing Warblade.  It is by far the most recent game that is extremely retro, and in a GOOD way.  The game has awesome graphics (purchased version does) and you can play two players at the same machine, play with game-pads, etc.  Seriously, don't give up on gaming...

@ Oddbob:  Yeah it's very true that's where tastes differ, and I fully respect that.  I do admit that pom pom's defender game was fun to play, so they atleast got the control feel down IMHO.  As far as the graphics go, well.. I've already stated my opinion on them. Wink Well, since you've been studying the market by far longer then I have, I would put your analysis above mine. I ask, what games did well on the casual market besides platypus and alien sky?  Please do list them, as I want to see why. 

@ Everyone:  This site's main purpose is to pool us shooter devs together, so that we can get organized and share very important knowledge, and share websites to promote our games on that the shooter genre will become a powerful force!!  This does mean that some of us might have to drop some retro idealogy, because some things "retro" are "retro" for a reason.  I'm not here to make a retro game, no.. BUT: I do think that retro remakes are fun, and I do think that if someone makes a modern game with retro quality and modern innovation then that qualifies as a modern shmup.

We're all here, so this is what we should do:  push the shmup genre into a whole new level.  I think that given this sites exposure and traffic, that this is very possible.  So let us all team up and push this genre forward.  Let's all critique each other's games so that the games come out better, and let us build portals that will showcase only our best games.  Let's move! Let's get going!  Cool
« Last Edit: December 30, 2005, 03:11:07 PM by Matt McFarland »

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Read December 30, 2005, 05:33:33 PM #38
Nexic

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

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Any business needs to be tended to and nurtured, and every effort put in to making it a success. You wouldn't expect to open a shop tomorrow and find yourself with a 10,000 pound turnover straight away, so why should an online business be the same?

This is not really anything to do with what we are dicussing, but if you opened a physical retail shop and didn't turn over 10k in your first year you would be doing incredibly badly. Baring in mind that even a small shop's lease can easily cost 1000s per month...  Shocked


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Have you got any figures to back that up please? I prefer to deal in cold hard facts with regards to something being proclaimed the "pretty much best selling shooter ever" and would dearly love to see some evidence to back that up. Until then, please don't be offended if I just assume its one more person on the internet making things up. I'm more than open to having the facts presented before me though

Nope I don't have any hard facts written anywhere in a concise format that clearly states "This IS the best selling shooter ever". However from things people in the know have written on Indiegamer.com and from RealArcade stats I think it's pretty safe to say it's either the best, or one of the best. It was in the RealArcade top ten for around 15 weeks, as far as I know by far the longest shooter to stay in there.

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And heres my "it sucks but its a fact of life", the market is *not* always what people would have you believe. Do your own research and find out exactly how many people aren't alligned with this so called market and you'll be surprised. Just because none of the portals tap into a market doesn't mean it doesn't exist, nor does it mean that it isn't huge. It just means theres a whole load of people who's needs aren't being met. Are they any less "market" ?

Yes I think there is a huge untapped market. But reaching it will be hard, and will take time, and I'm attempting to get to it, whilst making some money at the same time. I simply couldn't afford to keep making games without portals, if  I stopped using them I'd have to get a full time job, and would have little or no time for games. This is the situation for a lot of people. Also remember that any business requires money in order to grow. When I wrote my first game I couldn't afford to pay anyone to do music and art, and it looked terrible, now I have some money behind me (a fair amount coming from portal sales) I can make games with richer media.

Please don't think I'm some kind of hippy portal loving retard, because I'm really not. I do dislike how they work, and I dislike the never ending stream of Bejewelled reskins, which is why I'm still making shooters. If I could ignore them I would, but I really can't at this moment in time.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2005, 05:35:57 PM by Nexic »

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Read December 30, 2005, 08:06:41 PM #39
oddbob

Re: Molding a shooter into the Casual Market

Quote
Any business needs to be tended to and nurtured, and every effort put in to making it a success. You wouldn't expect to open a shop tomorrow and find yourself with a 10,000 pound turnover straight away, so why should an online business be the same?

This is not really anything to do with what we are dicussing, but if you opened a physical retail shop and didn't turn over 10k in your first year you would be doing incredibly badly. Baring in mind that even a small shop's lease can easily cost 1000s per month...  Shocked

To continue my already poor analogy further (yes,that is the sound of a spade you hear...) you don't start a business within premises that cost anywhere near that unless you can afford to absorb some losses, at which point - you'll have already been succesful enough or have a free enough financial reign (ie. some very understanding investors or a lottery win) to be in that position in the first place. Having worked with small businesses which have survived for years due to low rates and nowhere near 10,000 a year turnover - its entirely possible. Some have crashed and burned, others have gone on to bigger and better things and to be honest, most of the ones that crashed and burned either did so due to the owners incompetance or misjudged decisions rather than market forces pushing them out. The succesful ones started small and worked upwards. By no means an empirical example and there's hundreds, probably thousands that break the mould - but there's a lot to be said for starting small and working hard yourself.

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Have you got any figures to back that up please? I prefer to deal in cold hard facts with regards to something being proclaimed the "pretty much best selling shooter ever" and would dearly love to see some evidence to back that up. Until then, please don't be offended if I just assume its one more person on the internet making things up. I'm more than open to having the facts presented before me though

Nope I don't have any hard facts written anywhere in a concise format that clearly states "This IS the best selling shooter ever". However from things people in the know have written on Indiegamer.com and from RealArcade stats I think it's pretty safe to say it's either the best, or one of the best. It was in the RealArcade top ten for around 15 weeks, as far as I know by far the longest shooter to stay in there.

Shareware as a concept and a business model existed long before the portals and Platypus existed. Thats my point over the "best ever" statement. As did shareware shooters. I'm not arguing or denying that Platypus does well for Retro64, but it is a relatively recent downloadable product - maybe in a few years this will be unarguably the case but, as neither of us has anything but second hand opinions to go on, its not a point I'll labour too much as neither of us can prove our argument either way and therefor, a little futile debating it Smiley

I do worry about holding up a product where the author no longer retains the rights to it as an ideal model to work towards a little bit disturbing though. Having said that, if Anthony ever finishes Cletus Clay, from what I've heard - it'll be storming.

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And heres my "it sucks but its a fact of life", the market is *not* always what people would have you believe. Do your own research and find out exactly how many people aren't alligned with this so called market and you'll be surprised. Just because none of the portals tap into a market doesn't mean it doesn't exist, nor does it mean that it isn't huge. It just means theres a whole load of people who's needs aren't being met. Are they any less "market" ?

Yes I think there is a huge untapped market. But reaching it will be hard, and will take time, and I'm attempting to get to it, whilst making some money at the same time. I simply couldn't afford to keep making games without portals, if  I stopped using them I'd have to get a full time job, and would have little or no time for games. This is the situation for a lot of people. Also remember that any business requires money in order to grow. When I wrote my first game I couldn't afford to pay anyone to do music and art, and it looked terrible, now I have some money behind me (a fair amount coming from portal sales) I can make games with richer media.

I don't think they're as hard to reach as you might think. XBLA seems to have tapped straight into it from the off with the 360. There's nothing stopping a PC developer learning from what games are succesful on there and why.

Please don't think I'm some kind of hippy portal loving retard, because I'm really not. I do dislike how they work, and I dislike the never ending stream of Bejewelled reskins, which is why I'm still making shooters. If I could ignore them I would, but I really can't at this moment in time.

And nor am I a fascistic portal hating retard (honest guv). I just enjoy the debate and getting to the nitty gritty of what works and what doesn't. I'm by no means saying I'm correct, but its a pleasure debating the issue with folks in a polite environment and finding out what other people think. I'm ultimately just a gobby opinionated fellow who watches the world fly past and reads far too much and finds himself fascinated by so many things. I might sound pessimistic at times, but I'm at heart just an eternal optimist, I don't have the answers - only my own experiences of life to draw on. I'm no expert either come to mention it Wink

One of the things I find interesting about the Portals is the parallel between the download sites and the shareware market 5,6,7 years ago where they were the great white hope of the home developer - but became saturated with too much product to wade through. Now your only hope of getting noticed is to pay for a place (and indeed, some of the download sites are now compulsory pay to get listed sites) which is where the gap for the portals came in. Now, portals are partly the great white hope of the home developer and...well, lets see how the next few years plays out and how they evolve Smiley

On a lighter note:

An enjoyable read on one of the first shareware successes can be found in Novembers Way Of The Rodent. Have a gander at the Making Of Llamatron article from the issue before last. (the one with the floating Dreamcast on the cover).


Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.
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