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Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 434
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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #30 - Posted 2012-09-23 11:23:19 »

Not just right now, but forever. People don't change.

If you're in the business of satisfying tiny niches then of course go right on ahead and make it as hard as you like of course Smiley But if you're going to go to all that effort I wonder why not just make it fun for everyone else too.

Cas Smiley

Offline Cero
« Reply #31 - Posted 2012-09-23 11:50:14 »

I love Dark Souls.
Enough said about my taste =D

Offline pjt33
« Reply #32 - Posted 2012-09-23 11:50:37 »

There's your personal problem right there: you're one of the 1% - you don't really "get" the 99%. Stop even thinking about the 1% who get bored.
I'm saying that it's not 1% who get bored. Everyone gets bored. (I also think it's worth thinking about the 1% too, but that's a different issue).
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Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 434
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #33 - Posted 2012-09-23 13:25:28 »

Who knows what the exact % is, but hard games simply do not sell. Almost nobody wants to buy them, because they don't like hard games. For sure there is a niche that does, and thrives on them... but they are incredibly difficult to focus.

Cas Smiley

Offline Damnesia

Senior Newbie





« Reply #34 - Posted 2012-09-23 21:54:33 »

Who knows what the exact % is, but hard games simply do not sell. Almost nobody wants to buy them, because they don't like hard games. For sure there is a niche that does, and thrives on them... but they are incredibly difficult to focus.

Cas Smiley

Ever heard of Super Meat Boy?

Be sure to visit my website www.damnesiagames.com [WIP]
Offline Cero
« Reply #35 - Posted 2012-09-23 22:00:25 »

Dark Souls sold like 2 million times.
The new version for the consoles will up this.
A game which sells like 2,5 million times definitely tells you its fine to have hard games.
And Dark Souls is not just hard...

Well economical you can just make a game which is easy enough and throw in a special hard mode...

Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 434
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #36 - Posted 2012-09-23 22:11:04 »

You write the next Dark Souls and then you can feel free to compete with them.

Cas Smiley

Offline Cero
« Reply #37 - Posted 2012-09-23 23:26:32 »

Gotta have ambition :D

Offline Oskuro

JGO Knight


Medals: 40
Exp: 6 years


Coding in Style


« Reply #38 - Posted 2012-09-23 23:35:17 »

Not just right now, but forever. People don't change.

Actually, they do. Videogames are still somewhat marginal, but as the new generations that have grown with gaming (around a 90% usage as I've heard) become older, it will take its place as just another form of media, like movies or music.

And niches then.... Well, not everybody likes the same music, do they? And no one would call alternate music styles as "niche". Well, maybe J-Pop.

Write this off as a fantasy... But movies where in the very same spot some time ago, considered marginal and incapable of being art, and things changed.

Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 434
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #39 - Posted 2012-09-24 09:45:08 »

Stuff changes.... but very very slowly. And the fundamental premise that "people like easy" I don't think has ever been any different - the problem was that "the people" have been catered for by "the 1%" without much in the way of competition for a long time. That is, the kinds of people who were prone to making video games were necessarily the sorts of people who fit that 1% niche in the first place. This is why all those 80s games are so rubbish when you play them today - you have come to realise just how much better games are when they are not designed by geeky programmers who understand rules and systems and low-level graphics programming but by people who actually try to understand other people and give them what they actually like to play.

I am absolutely as guilty of this as anyone else, and in fact consider myself to be a totally shit game designer, even worse than I am as a programmer. It takes me years to make something trivially simple even acceptable to play by "ordinary" people eg. my 13 yr old nephew or my wife, when some people just bash out "fun stuff" in a few weeks flat and rake in the dough.

It's all very well to go citing occasional one-off hits like Super Meat Boy or Call of Duty etc. but seriously, these games are exceedingly rare (and their success is as much an artifact of marketing as it is game design). The vast majority of games which are "hard" sink without trace. You should instead be looking more to the casual space to see just how many people were not being catered to by these designs. The incredible success of games like Alchemy, Worms, Bejewelled, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, etc. should be a sobering reminder of why twitch-based shmups and pixel-perfect platformers remain firmly out of the sales charts and most ordinary peoples' consciousness.

Cas Smiley

Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline gimbal

JGO Knight


Medals: 25



« Reply #40 - Posted 2012-09-24 09:50:20 »

Actually, they do. Videogames are still somewhat marginal, but as the new generations that have grown with gaming (around a 90% usage as I've heard) become older, it will take its place as just another form of media, like movies or music.

I can remember the days where I was a nerd for playing video games. Nowadays it is a primary form of entertainment even branching into the older generations that did not grow up with video games, I can certainly see how that affects the choices game publishers (and sometimes devs) make.

I long back to the days where I was a nerd, the games were better and there was no such thing as a niche crowd - everyone liked all types of games. I hate soccer (which makes me a very weird Dutch person), but I still liked playing Sensible Soccer and Fifa 95. But don't bother me with Fifa 2012, its just not a game anymore but more like a simulation. I still hate soccer.
Offline Oskuro

JGO Knight


Medals: 40
Exp: 6 years


Coding in Style


« Reply #41 - Posted 2012-09-24 10:25:25 »

I think the normalization of gaming will, in the long run, be beneficial from a creative standpoint.

But I do agree that changes will be slow, not only  because people themselves take time to accept new things, but because those pushing products and relying on a specific market model will fight to keep an status quo that benefits them.

I think of how mobile phones have been gradually accepted to the point that now we have a hard time figuring how we managed without them... But even today, phone companies still using the old mindset offer inadequate connection packages, and thus slow the advance of the technology (Example, companies blocking VoIP apps, or even charging for the use of IM services to compensate for the loss of SMS income).


In any case, we'll see how it all evolves. The problem with mass marketing is that everyone is doing it. I think the appeal of niche development is that, by gaining a loyal customer base, you can make a decent profit whole not being subjected to the cutthroat mass-appeal market that, in the end, will be ruled by big-budgeted publishers (It's a matter of business, not quality, sadly).

But that's the trick too. Developing for niche markets requires a different approach, probably a deeper understanding of what your audience is looking for specifically. And a whole lot of luck.

Offline gimbal

JGO Knight


Medals: 25



« Reply #42 - Posted 2012-09-24 11:19:34 »

Luck or a radical power of prediction... I don't have any of the latter, the whole indie scene took me completely by surprise, as did the multimillion dollar success of Facebook games. Or (yawn, here we go again) Minecraft for that matter.
Offline erikd

JGO Ninja


Medals: 16
Projects: 4
Exp: 14 years


Maximumisness


« Reply #43 - Posted 2012-09-24 11:45:43 »

Quote
But that's the trick too. Developing for niche markets requires a different approach, probably a deeper understanding of what your audience is looking for specifically. And a whole lot of luck.

It helps a lot if you're part of this niche yourself.
That's why I think it pays more to develop games that you really want to play yourself, than it is to develop undemanding main stream games "because that's what people want to play".

Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 434
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #44 - Posted 2012-09-24 12:08:04 »

There is a golden but very very small section at the intersection of a three-circle Venn diagram comprising of "Games you have the ability to make", "Games other people like to play" and "Games you would like to play".

Cas Smiley

Offline Oskuro

JGO Knight


Medals: 40
Exp: 6 years


Coding in Style


« Reply #45 - Posted 2012-09-24 12:13:51 »

I personally focus on games I'd like to design.   Cool

Offline erikd

JGO Ninja


Medals: 16
Projects: 4
Exp: 14 years


Maximumisness


« Reply #46 - Posted 2012-09-24 12:34:17 »

There is a golden but very very small section at the intersection of a three-circle Venn diagram comprising of "Games you have the ability to make", "Games other people like to play" and "Games you would like to play".

Cas Smiley

It doesn't matter that it's small when it's golden Smiley

Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 434
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #47 - Posted 2012-09-24 13:30:23 »

The bugger is, finding it in the first place. I'm still looking.

Cas Smiley

Offline sproingie

JGO Kernel


Medals: 202



« Reply #48 - Posted 2012-09-24 17:06:23 »

The root of the problem is this: it should be as much fun to "lose" a game as it is to "win".

The motto of Dwarf Fortress is "Losing is Fun".  Given the psychopathic nature of the dwarfs in the game, it's usually inevitable that a fortress goes down in a "tantrum spiral", an orgy of fratricidal violence and mayhem often sparked by someone losing their favorite cat.  Some people like to flood the fortress with magma when that happens.  Fun Smiley


Offline pjt33
« Reply #49 - Posted 2012-09-24 21:34:51 »

... The vast majority of games which are "hard" sink without trace. You should instead be looking more to the casual space to see just how many people were not being catered to by these designs. The incredible success of games like Alchemy, Worms, Bejewelled, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, etc. should be a sobering reminder of why twitch-based shmups and pixel-perfect platformers remain firmly out of the sales charts and most ordinary peoples' consciousness.
Wait a minute. Worms? Worms is hard. It takes dozens of hours of practice to be put a grenade where you want it, master ninja ropes, or make tactical decisions fast.
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 434
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #50 - Posted 2012-09-24 21:36:49 »

But mostly Worms is just silly, and you sit in the same room as the other players, and help each other to play, and even if you're allegedly experienced at it, the consequences of any action you do are almost hilariously randomly self-destructive. The very definition of fun to lose!

Cas Smiley

Offline ctomni231

JGO Wizard


Medals: 99
Projects: 1
Exp: 7 years


Not a glitch. Just have a lil' pixelexia...


« Reply #51 - Posted 2012-09-25 01:26:49 »

The incredible success of games like Alchemy, Worms, Bejewelled, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, etc. should be a sobering reminder of why twitch-based shmups and pixel-perfect platformers remain firmly out of the sales charts and most ordinary peoples' consciousness.

I think there is more to it than just ordinary people "not" wanting to play it. People now-a-days just want the option of playing in very short sessions. Long sessions are less appealing as people don't have time to sit down and play. (Except for the hardcore Tongue )

There is a level of accessibility that certain games allow you to do easier than others. For example, Bejeweled, Worms, and even to an extent Minecraft allow you to quit a session and come back without a severe loss of progress. But, most shumps and platformers still fall under the arcade mentality of start over when you lose. If they just allow you to continue from the last checkpoint and stop making you start all over again, it will make these types of games more accessible to everyone.

Arcade is pretty much dead. The moment games become more forgiving to people who live life on the move, they will become more accessible to gamers in general. Game type is only a small part of it, people just don't want to be punished for the lifestyle they lead.

Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 434
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #52 - Posted 2012-09-25 08:49:19 »

I think you're absolutely right. People only have so much time, and they will only generally let One Big Thing take over their lives at a time. This is important to know if you're marketing games - it identifies the sort of competition you're up against. If Runic had had Torchlight 2 ready when Diablo 3 came out it would have tanked (relatively).

And especially right about the way savedgames work and arcade style games in general. Arcade is not dead - it's just moved to the only place where people games for 5 minutes at a time - mobile. Unfortunately touch mobile is such a desolate wasteland of user interface options the games available are all rather lame.

Cas Smiley

Offline Oskuro

JGO Knight


Medals: 40
Exp: 6 years


Coding in Style


« Reply #53 - Posted 2012-09-25 09:03:18 »

I'm thinking.... Maybe we're focusing on difficulty as too an absolute term.

Isn't the true mass-appeal winner the formula "easy to learn, hard to master"?

Or in other words, accessibility. Take Portal, for example, a game that is 90% tutorial, and by the end has you doing some pretty complex stunts.

I'm thinking difficulty in itself is not the problem, but rather how the player is eased into it.

Ways not to do it would be I Want To Be The Guy, or Castelvania: Symphony of the Night (Hey! The game is easy! You can one-hit giant wolves! Wooops! Death took all your gear away! Now DIEEEEE!).  Tongue


A great example on how to scale difficulty to player skill is the good old Tetris. Game speed increases slowly as you progress, but players always have the option to select an advanced skill level if they really want to get the masochism going.

Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 434
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #54 - Posted 2012-09-25 10:13:21 »

"Easy to learn, hard to master" is the absolute golden rule of making games people will like. There is another equally important golden rule, IMHO, which is "Do not punish the player." Which is a lot harder to pin down.

Cas Smiley

Offline Oskuro

JGO Knight


Medals: 40
Exp: 6 years


Coding in Style


« Reply #55 - Posted 2012-09-25 10:51:38 »

Unless the player wants to. I'm prone to refer to games like IWBTG or Dark Souls as "gaming-BDSM"  Roll Eyes


Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 434
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #56 - Posted 2012-09-25 13:11:20 »

Always room on the internet to cater to all tastes Smiley Especially if your marketing budget can fool people into thinking they want to buy something before they realise they're not having fun.

Aside: this is IMO how Minecraft worked. Genius at upsell. Past the paywall it turned out there really wasn't a lot else going on to capture one's attention for very long unless you were a teenager or some other type of person with vast amounts of free time and nothing better to do with it.

Cas Smiley

Offline erikd

JGO Ninja


Medals: 16
Projects: 4
Exp: 14 years


Maximumisness


« Reply #57 - Posted 2012-09-25 13:24:04 »

I personally think a game *should* punish the player for screwing up. At least in certain genres.
But more importantly: if you die, you should always have the feeling that it's your own fault; and that it's certainly possible to win.

For example, in a shmup I prefer instant death over a life-bar and if you die you'll return to the start of the level (or halfway at most).
IMHO, life-bars in shmups are just an easy escape out of bad game design.

Offline gimbal

JGO Knight


Medals: 25



« Reply #58 - Posted 2012-09-25 14:34:53 »

I personally think a game *should* punish the player for screwing up. At least in certain genres.
But more importantly: if you die, you should always have the feeling that it's your own fault; and that it's certainly possible to win.

For example, in a shmup I prefer instant death over a life-bar and if you die you'll return to the start of the level (or halfway at most).
IMHO, life-bars in shmups are just an easy escape out of bad game design.

You must love Project X then.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI7axN1coR4

If you die on the later levels, you might as well restart the game. You lose all your power ups making it an act of god to survive anything on your remaining lives. Talk about punishment, that is basically a public flogging. I wonder how many Arcade joysticks went into the bin because of that game.
Offline Oskuro

JGO Knight


Medals: 40
Exp: 6 years


Coding in Style


« Reply #59 - Posted 2012-09-25 15:01:41 »

Always room on the internet to cater to all tastes Smiley Especially if your marketing budget can fool people into thinking they want to buy something before they realise they're not having fun.

Yeah well, that's what the Mobile App market is right now. But give it time. Eventually both the novelty will wear off, and users will grow wise to the trick, and it will die (Again).

Quote
Aside: this is IMO how Minecraft worked.

I have to disagree vehemently. Minecraft's genius is actually offering something new and different. The confusion a lot of people have is about what it is.

I wouldn't say it is really a proper game but rather an activity. Like playing with legos really, a truly pure sandbox, if you like, and that's a genre that needs some more exploration (pun intended).

I keep coming back to it, play for a while, build stuff, and then put it down until I get the itch to place blocks again. Is a very different process to games with an engaging story or defined goal. Very zen actually.


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