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  What's Killing Game Development?  (Read 7332 times)
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Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
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« Posted 2007-07-20 13:42:14 »

A neat article about the high risks of making a AAA game, the costs vs. revenues, and other things.

http://www.firingsquad.com/features/killing_game_development/

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Offline princec

JGO Kernel


Medals: 361
Projects: 3
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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #1 - Posted 2007-07-20 16:33:57 »

Don't  I know it Cheesy It was like an epiphany to me when I realised I could write a game in 3 months and sell it for $20.

Cas Smiley

Offline bahuman

Junior Member





« Reply #2 - Posted 2007-07-21 12:34:12 »

Makes you wonder how ANY game gets released  Grin

I must confess I'm a sucker for fancy graphics. I'm disappointed when I'm not blown away by the graphics, then again I complain when the gameplay suffers   Roll Eyes
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Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #3 - Posted 2007-07-21 14:28:41 »

Don't  I know it Cheesy It was like an epiphany to me when I realised I could write a game in 3 months and sell it for $20.

Cas Smiley

That's 100% profit right there on the first sold copy Wink

No wonder EA is setting up a "Casual Game Division" to compete on that market.

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
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Offline PeterB

Junior Member





« Reply #4 - Posted 2007-07-23 00:19:08 »


Great article - a nice read!

Long live the '4 guys and a dog' development team!

Vault101 / Mace The Game
There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.
Offline keldon85

Senior Member


Medals: 1



« Reply #5 - Posted 2007-07-23 00:41:02 »

Seems like Nintendo were heading in the right direction with the Wii then! Maybe the future will involve a completely different type of approach requiring large numbers of volunteers, etc. Anyone remember that community built MMO from Acclaim?

Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #6 - Posted 2007-07-23 01:22:37 »

Seems like Nintendo were heading in the right direction with the Wii then! Maybe the future will involve a completely different type of approach requiring large numbers of volunteers, etc. Anyone remember that community built MMO from Acclaim?

That "community built MMO" thingy is not going to work, I'm not being pessimistic, just realistic! It's either going to dissolve, not get finished ever, people will quit because they don't agree, 200 million ideas but 0 implementations. That's community game development for you Smiley I'll eat dirt if that game will ever be released, remind me. Wink

Yes, Nintendo really made a super good decision with Wii. They saw this huge gap in the console market, and jumped right in there with their Wii.


But regarding that article. I just can't believe these AAA games cost so much.  $10 million? Holy cow.

But I still don't understand why these cheaper games, like for Sony PSP, cost so much. In my local retail store that sells all sorts of games they're selling off a 1980's style 2D games on about $80. That's crazy, especially when those AAA games cost around the same. (Note, this is in Iceland, so they add probably 40-50% extra on the original price (yes, it's that expensive over here!).)



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Offline ravenger

Senior Newbie





« Reply #7 - Posted 2007-07-23 15:44:22 »

The major problem with nowadays graphics is that the industry still uses the same methodoligy to create the graphics content as say 10 years ago. Back then, for example a character model would take like a week or 2, nowadays its more like 2 to 3 months.
Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #8 - Posted 2007-07-23 16:01:48 »

The major problem with nowadays graphics is that the industry still uses the same methodoligy to create the graphics content as say 10 years ago. Back then, for example a character model would take like a week or 2, nowadays its more like 2 to 3 months.

And there is nothing that tells me this time is going to decrease in the future, unless there will be some new innovative methodology to design and create games introduced. Which reminds me, did you guys see the id-tech 5 demonstration video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvuTtrkVtns Really cool how he describes that there can be multiple "game world editors" editing the same "map" at the same time.

Maybe in another 10 years these AAA games will cost $50-100 million in development.

What would be the point to buy a top-end game console if there are only a handful of games each year that make use of the consoles full potential, and you're only interested in one of them! Smiley

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
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Offline PeterB

Junior Member





« Reply #9 - Posted 2007-07-29 00:00:09 »

ooo - i like the id tech-5 demo. There's gonna be stiff competition between these big 3:

 epic
 id
 crytek

Note: I think the competition will be: who can create the next big game within a reasonable timescale - and make a profit

Vault101 / Mace The Game
There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline keldon85

Senior Member


Medals: 1



« Reply #10 - Posted 2007-07-29 08:44:36 »

And there is nothing that tells me this time is going to decrease in the future, unless there will be some new innovative methodology to design and create games introduced. Which reminds me, did you guys see the id-tech 5 demonstration video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvuTtrkVtns Really cool how he describes that there can be multiple "game world editors" editing the same "map" at the same time.

Maybe in another 10 years these AAA games will cost $50-100 million in development.

What would be the point to buy a top-end game console if there are only a handful of games each year that make use of the consoles full potential, and you're only interested in one of them! Smiley
Could reusing the same characters/bodies/faces and other models save money?

Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #11 - Posted 2007-07-29 14:24:43 »

The only way to save money in game development is better technologies and algorithmas. Basicly, procedural graphics.

Imagine only defining the properties of character models, how tall it is, hair color, clothing etc. and then some smart algorithm will generate a perfect model for you.  Same applies for textures.

One interesting thing I learned about in school in a course called Virtual Enviroments. One of the topics was Grand Theft Auto, and how large the game world is. There are tons of buildings in that game, but however, almost all of the buildings are just empty boxes with textures. I can imagine it being impossible to create the interiors of every single building in GTA, it would take many many years to do everything, since all buildings are unique.
Today exists an algorithm that lets you generate whole cities, buildings, the outdoors enviroment, and the indoors enviroment. Corridors, multiple levels, stairways, elevators, rooms, unique items in rooms, textures etc. You only provide a few properties to the algorithm about the definition of that building. And this can be generated at runtime.

Already there are games that have used similar technologies, such as Dungeon Siege. Their game world is "infinite". Google it.

I think it will be logical for game development to go into that direction.

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
Check out GAMADU (my own site) @ http://gamadu.com/
Offline keldon85

Senior Member


Medals: 1



« Reply #12 - Posted 2007-07-29 14:43:09 »

Outlaw Racers also did that, however levels need to be designed to be fun to play and there are certain similarities in terms of size and scope that all of the popular/good games have. One thing to point out is that the time isn't spent on creating the cityscape but the details, it wouldn't be hard to create AI that generates cities but the bricks and street need textures.

Offline princec

JGO Kernel


Medals: 361
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #13 - Posted 2007-07-29 16:48:49 »

The only way to save money in game development is better technologies and algorithmas. Basicly, procedural graphics
Or... reducing the scope of games massively. Why spend $10m on a title when you can get away with $100k and make the same profit?

Cas Smiley

Offline keldon85

Senior Member


Medals: 1



« Reply #14 - Posted 2007-07-29 17:25:19 »

Well all I can say is that Nintendo are constantly making a profit, so just follow their example!!!

Offline ravenger

Senior Newbie





« Reply #15 - Posted 2007-07-30 08:54:59 »

The only way to save money in game development is better technologies and algorithmas. Basicly, procedural graphics.

Imagine only defining the properties of character models, how tall it is, hair color, clothing etc. and then some smart algorithm will generate a perfect model for you.  Same applies for textures.

One interesting thing I learned about in school in a course called Virtual Enviroments. One of the topics was Grand Theft Auto, and how large the game world is. There are tons of buildings in that game, but however, almost all of the buildings are just empty boxes with textures. I can imagine it being impossible to create the interiors of every single building in GTA, it would take many many years to do everything, since all buildings are unique.
Today exists an algorithm that lets you generate whole cities, buildings, the outdoors enviroment, and the indoors enviroment. Corridors, multiple levels, stairways, elevators, rooms, unique items in rooms, textures etc. You only provide a few properties to the algorithm about the definition of that building. And this can be generated at runtime.

Already there are games that have used similar technologies, such as Dungeon Siege. Their game world is "infinite". Google it.

I think it will be logical for game development to go into that direction.
Procedural Graphics are quite the grail, but only if you write an algorithm that provides enough variety so that its not really noticeable that its in fact procedural. For cities and environments its absolutely the way to go.
The hard part for modelling however (especially characters) is that you need a million+ polygon model to create normal maps and other fancy things. The amount of detail applied to nowadays models is truely inmense. To apply procedural graphics to such a process is a really hard thing to do properly if you ask me Smiley

Thats not all tho, nowadays the amount of animation needed per character is quite alot aswell, concidering that you can animate parts of the body apart of eachother. Combining those luckily is part of animation programming, but its tricky challenging to write a proper animation system that uses multiple animation channels and that can properly blend animations Smiley.

Reducing the scope is also an option, but it puts the weight on the gamedesigner to come up with something awesome and compact at the same time Smiley
Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #16 - Posted 2007-07-30 09:19:50 »

Procedural Graphics are quite the grail, but only if you write an algorithm that provides enough variety so that its not really noticeable that its in fact procedural. For cities and environments its absolutely the way to go.
The hard part for modelling however (especially characters) is that you need a million+ polygon model to create normal maps and other fancy things. The amount of detail applied to nowadays models is truely inmense. To apply procedural graphics to such a process is a really hard thing to do properly if you ask me Smiley

Thats not all tho, nowadays the amount of animation needed per character is quite alot aswell, concidering that you can animate parts of the body apart of eachother. Combining those luckily is part of animation programming, but its tricky challenging to write a proper animation system that uses multiple animation channels and that can properly blend animations Smiley.

Reducing the scope is also an option, but it puts the weight on the gamedesigner to come up with something awesome and compact at the same time Smiley

Indeed. But it is my belief that procedural graphics are the future, well a part of it at least. Surely not everything is suited to be created procedurally, such as the main character, or some very specialized buildings that need to be designed for the gameplay. There will always be need of heavy duty modeling and graphics work in computer games, probably a lot more than there is today! But to keep making games as larger and larger the game designers/artists will need tools to help them make the worlds so big.

It's a question of these "ambient" parts of the world. While the design of the main building or the main characters are important, then other things such as trees, rocks, and possibly enemy characters are not.
Rushed games can always be spotted by one thing, the re-use of existing models. Like only having 2 or 3 models for hundreds of bad guys. Imagine every bad guy being generated procedurally, each character unique.

I think it's possible to generate unique characters, including texture and normal mappings.

But I agree that with any procedural graphics you always lose some control.

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
Check out GAMADU (my own site) @ http://gamadu.com/
Offline keldon85

Senior Member


Medals: 1



« Reply #17 - Posted 2007-07-30 09:57:29 »

Static models aren't a problem, the money probably goes into animation, shading, and texturing everything with bump maps and so on.

Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #18 - Posted 2007-07-30 10:11:20 »

The only way to save money in game development is better technologies and algorithmas. Basicly, procedural graphics.

Or the traditional route - spending less. The games industry is currently trying to do this, and is - relatively - not that interested in procedural graphics (probably because making graphics is only a fraction of the budget?). Games that cost less are much more profitable and are easier to update / improve / add to - which helps them also have bigger revenue.

Quote
One interesting thing I learned about in school in a course called Virtual Enviroments. One of the topics was Grand Theft Auto, and how large the game world is. There are tons of buildings in that game, but however, almost all of the buildings are just empty boxes with textures. I can imagine it being impossible to create the interiors of every single building in GTA, it would take many many years to do everything, since all buildings are unique.
Today exists an algorithm that lets you generate whole cities, buildings, the outdoors enviroment, and the indoors enviroment. Corridors, multiple levels, stairways, elevators, rooms, unique items in rooms, textures etc. You only provide a few properties to the algorithm about the definition of that building. And this can be generated at runtime.

Already there are games that have used similar technologies, such as Dungeon Siege. Their game world is "infinite". Google it.

I think it will be logical for game development to go into that direction.

Have you played Diablo? Have you played TitanQuest? Diablo was first, by almost 10 years, and was procedural. TQ was a hit game of last year, and was entirely hand-made.

The main problem is that procedural maps are boring, boring, boring.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline ravenger

Senior Newbie





« Reply #19 - Posted 2007-07-30 10:33:00 »

Static models aren't a problem, the money probably goes into animation, shading, and texturing everything with bump maps and so on.
yes but in order to make something like a normal map you need a static model which contains millions of polygons and you have to apply all of the detail yourself. Ofcourse there are tools which allow you to do that kind of thing in a humane timeframe, like zBrush or Mudbox but i recon it still takes like up to 2 months to get it all right with textures and everything, which is alot Smiley And then some guy has to rig the model and get the animations in.

Or the traditional route - spending less. The games industry is currently trying to do this, and is - relatively - not that interested in procedural graphics (probably because making graphics is only a fraction of the budget?). Games that cost less are much more profitable and are easier to update / improve / add to - which helps them also have bigger revenue.

Have you played Diablo? Have you played TitanQuest? Diablo was first, by almost 10 years, and was procedural. TQ was a hit game of last year, and was entirely hand-made.

The main problem is that procedural maps are boring, boring, boring.
Have you ever wondered why 70 to 80% of the people working on a regular AAA title are graphics artists? Smiley It seems quite costly to me, but who knows Smiley im not working at a major studio (yet Roll Eyes)
Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #20 - Posted 2007-07-30 12:46:47 »

The main problem is that procedural maps are boring, boring, boring.

Well, in many cases yes. But, believe it or not, I think the "fun factor" can be added into the algorithms. Anything can be created procedurally. You just need to discover what is it about the game that makes it fun, and then somehow import it into the algorithms.

I don't think games will get smaller, simpler, cheaper. There will always be this demand for large games like Half-Life, and the effort that goes into creating it will always increase... despite of procedural algorithms or better editing technologies.

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
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Offline keldon85

Senior Member


Medals: 1



« Reply #21 - Posted 2007-07-30 14:06:15 »

Well, in many cases yes. But, believe it or not, I think the "fun factor" can be added into the algorithms. Anything can be created procedurally. You just need to discover what is it about the game that makes it fun, and then somehow import it into the algorithms.

It's not that easy to write an algorithm to be "fun", you can do a lot with genetic algorithms but the one of the most difficult tasks is the fitness function that determines how good a possible solution is.

Offline Giuoco

Senior Newbie





« Reply #22 - Posted 2007-07-30 16:00:36 »

Well all I can say is that Nintendo are constantly making a profit, so just follow their example!!!

I'm a fan of understanding what works well... So, what is the example (pattern?) that Nintendo uses to make a profit?
Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #23 - Posted 2007-07-30 16:12:56 »

I'm a fan of understanding what works well... So, what is the example (pattern?) that Nintendo uses to make a profit?

Easy:
- Cheap machine
- Cheap games
- Fun and different controls

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
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Offline Orangy Tang

JGO Kernel


Medals: 56
Projects: 11


Monkey for a head


« Reply #24 - Posted 2007-07-30 16:26:23 »

Easy:
- Cheap machine
- Cheap games
- Fun and different controls


- Highly polished
- Massive amounts of playtesting and tweeking.

[ TriangularPixels.com - Play Growth Spurt, Rescue Squad and Snowman Village ] [ Rebirth - game resource library ]
Offline princec

JGO Kernel


Medals: 361
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #25 - Posted 2007-07-30 19:09:55 »

Fun and different controls : not necessarily.

Cas Smiley

Offline Giuoco

Senior Newbie





« Reply #26 - Posted 2007-07-31 15:26:53 »

Easy:
- Cheap machine
- Cheap games
- Fun and different controls


What about content?  "If you build it, they will come" (?).
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #27 - Posted 2007-07-31 19:09:39 »

Well, in many cases yes. But, believe it or not, I think the "fun factor" can be added into the algorithms. Anything can be created procedurally. You just need to discover what is it about the game that makes it fun, and then somehow import it into the algorithms.

Aha. Ahahaha. Hahahahahahahahhaha!

Well, you know - when you find out "what it is about the game that makes it fun", and you decide to protect that knowledge, and sell shares in the company, count me in for a few thousand shares. We'll all be billionaires soon enough...

Seriously - you've just taken the most difficult thing in the entire games industry, the Big, Unsolvable, Problem, and calmly said it can be done ... just like that Smiley.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #28 - Posted 2007-07-31 19:10:13 »

Have you ever wondered why 70 to 80% of the people working on a regular AAA title are graphics artists? Smiley It seems quite costly to me, but who knows Smiley im not working at a major studio (yet Roll Eyes)

That's not normal.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #29 - Posted 2007-07-31 19:16:34 »

Aha. Ahahaha. Hahahahahahahahhaha!

Well, you know - when you find out "what it is about the game that makes it fun", and you decide to protect that knowledge, and sell shares in the company, count me in for a few thousand shares. We'll all be billionaires soon enough...

Seriously - you've just taken the most difficult thing in the entire games industry, the Big, Unsolvable, Problem, and calmly said it can be done ... just like that Smiley.

You misintepreted me. I said I believe anything can be created procedurally, that is in algorithms. If you have a fun game, yes, you can recreate it in algorithms. What are games? Isn't a game code just one big complex algorithm?

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
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