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Should I convert my open source game as a commercial game?

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larienna
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I have worked for many years on a open source video game project which is a remake of Wizardry. The goal was to create something like Zelda Classic. Unfortunately, I never finished entirely the project and never got any support from the community.

Now I am trying to refactor the code from C++ to plain C, create an adventure and release the game. Considering that

A) I have massively reduced the amount of assets required by the game.
B) That the mechanics are significantly different from the original Wizardry, but we can still see the inspiration.
C) It consumes a lot of my time, and I am still not finished yet.
D) I have complete control over the source code since I never had any help.

I am wondering it could be worth it to close the source code and release it as a commercial game on Steam, GOG games or other platforms. 20 years ago, commercial indie game were much tougher to publish than today, so this is why I did not go the commercial path at that time.

I would still need to retheme certain things, and create/buy/replace assets which I intended to do in the first place.

It should probably be recommended to get a publisher, as I suck at promoting stuff. Some publishers can do assets too. I basically needs: textures, monsters, music, sound. I have some royalty free assets but it could be lame to sell a game with such assets that everybody have access to.

I could also do my own assets using digital painting. It would create a different "style" which I am not sure would look good. Considering my project was designed so support multiple adventures, I could add Textures and Monsters progressively as I need them over time. Designing assets consume time not spent programming, I still find it entertaining to do art.

Problems I could see: It's not the state of the art 3D engine people as familar with. I am making a game that looks like a classic. I even intend to bring back the line maze. I don't even have realtime animation, it's pure turn based. If I do my own assets, I am not a professional artist. I might look more like impressionist acrylic painting. Again, it could be an interesting "style" that adds flavor to the game.

What do you think?

questccg
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Here's a couple ideas for you...

Make a YouTube VIDEO about your game. Maybe simply RECORD yourself PLAYING whatever you've got working already.

And call it: "Can you help me with my Video Game???"

Let people comment and see what people have to say. Maybe you'll attract the attention of a DEV or maybe an Illustrator to help design some Assets. OR maybe even a TEAM of people who work on Video Games...

Start with something SMALL and see what people THINK!?

If you get 100s of comments GREAT! If you only get a few views don't despair, this is only one ATTEMPT at trying to CONNECT with other people!

Making a video with yourself talking while showing your current GAMEPLAY doesn't require you to put your face in the video... Just focus on the game and TALK about the INSPIRATION and what YOU want as a VISION!

The other option is DISCORD! See if you can find a Video Game Development Discord CHANNEL that you can CHAT with people and just TALK about your idea and what you would like to ACCOMPLISH. This could get one or even a group of people who may want to HELP you in improving the game and making it more "professional"... Again you never know who is watching and can maybe decide to give you a try (to work with)...

Best of luck(!?) with your Video Game!

Note #1: The DISCORD servers could be "Video Game Design" or "Video Game Development" and are probably accessible via some REDDIT Links! That's another GREAT avenue: REDDIT! Post on the right thread about your YouTube VIDEO ... Or make your own thread about the game... All great options.

let-off studios
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Team Up

I wouldn't go at it alone, if I were you. I think recruiting some team members is a good idea.

Releasing something to the public seems to be a different animal than keeping it as a hobby or passion project. Even if you go the Steam route, and attempt Early Access, it can be a very demanding process and you'll be pulled in a lot of directions beyond just finishing the project.

I know there are "grognards" out there who are definitely die-hard fans of the Wizardry series, so seeking out recruits may be successful for you (if maybe a bit slow-going). Good luck on this.

larienna
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Quote:Making a video with

Quote:
Making a video with yourself talking while showing your current GAMEPLAY doesn't require you to put your face in the video.

I would gladly do that in the late phase of the game when it's almost complete. Too early for that to happen.

Quote:
Releasing something to the public seems to be a different animal than keeping it as a hobby or passion project. Even if you go the Steam route, and attempt Early Access, it can be a very demanding process and you'll be pulled in a lot of directions beyond just finishing the project.

I don't like doing Social Engeneering, this is why having a publisher in the end to promote the game could be a solution. I just want to focus on making the game, I don't care if the publisher gets a bigger cut.


In summary: those are basically the interrogations I have right now:

  1. Stay as a free game?
    ..YES: Continue as usual, replace assets with public domain assets if possible. No opportunity to make money.
    ..NO: Change name, and remove copyrighted stuff. Opportunity to make money. Nothing to lose little gain as a free game.

  2. Find a publisher?
    ..YES: Publisher could make assets for me or could force certain changes or assets.
    ..NO: Need to manage everything from assets to promotion. More work for me.

  3. Make my own assets?
    ..IF SELF PUBLISH:
    ....YES: Requires more time, could cost money, could be ugly.
    ....NO: Requires royalty free assets. Could be considered lazy to sell a game with free assets.
    ..IF PUBLISHER:
    ....YES: Can reduce time publisher need to invest, but publisher can throw all assets to garbage. Waste of my time.
    ....NO: Must find a publisher willing to make the assets.

Jay103
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Why would you change over

Why would you change over from C++ to C? Are you really writing for a chip that doesn't have a viable C++ compiler?

As for content.. if you don't have something very compelling going on in the plot, think about how much you might be able to charge, compared to what's available for $10 on Steam or $1.99 in the Apple Store. Or for free.

Original Wizardry, which I played a LOT, was terrible by any modern standard. It really has no plot, or even puzzles. The sequels started to add SMALL amounts of plot and more interesting goals (like the armor set in Knight of Diamonds), but what cost $59 in the 1980's wouldn't sell for $0 today.

What I'm trying to say is that it's probably not worth the trouble to try to charge for it, unless you have a very compelling story-line shoehorned into a Wizardry engine.

questccg
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I for the most part agree too!

The problem is mostly games are no longer valued as high since most mobile games can be obtained for FREE. And yes, that includes a LOT of cr@p too... But there are also some good games too (especially for $0.99 or $1.99) and it's about downloading 1M copies to make some money off of those games.

But for a game such as "Wizardry", you would need an AWESOME Trailer like the StarCraft Games (I and II). And then you would need a great STORY to tell... Because games like Diablo, StarCraft, GTA franchise all have a story that encourages players to continue to play on and understand the plot and its resolution.

If however your game is like "Eye of the Beholder" when you go into a dungeon and you need to proceed DEEP ENOUGH to find the Monster you are hunting... That kind of game might not attract anyone these days. Like I said most games WE BUY are "Story-Driven". Or engines like DOOM or Castle Wolfenstein 3D shooters because less popular as new engines are made available like Unity.

I think you would need to share some SCREENSHOTS of whatever it is that you want to SELL ... And we'll tell you if it is marketable. I wouldn't make it available on STEAM because quite honestly that platform is reserved for games that are Triple A (AAA). I have seen older PC games on STEAM such as Fallout I and II ... But these are there because of HISTORY. They were made ages ago and still people enjoy playing the older games.

Again if you are using Unity (or Unreal) Engine ... Maybe you can piece together some kind of "story" in the Wizardry universe. If it's a single player game with no story and an older engine... This might be as someone else said for the "Wizardry Grognards".

But it's hard to comment without any screenshots of the game. I don't know maybe you've done a wonderful job in Unity (or Unreal) Engine and the game has potential... IDK.

let-off studios
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Steam Sales

questccg wrote:
I wouldn't make it available on STEAM because quite honestly that platform is reserved for games that are Triple A (AAA).
Though it is a popular platform for AAA games, I have to respectfully disagree with this. There's an incredibly broad range of games on that service. There's even a search filter for "Under $5" on their store page. Price is irrespective of quality, and from my viewpoint Steam takes all comers.

You can even release the game for free on the Steam platform. I think the only criteria is that you pay some listing fee to Valve, and you're good. Steam doesn't care, because they'll collect their cut regardless.

Additionally, there are a number of third-party "bundle" services you can likely utilize as another way to broaden and extend your market reach. I strongly suspect this would take away from your income from the project. I don't know specifics on this beyond the fact that games in a bundle are typically -drastically- reduced in price.

I mention all of this without having released a game on Steam myself, though I have done some basic research on it for my own projects.

questccg
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You are correct

let-off studios wrote:
Though it is a popular platform for AAA games, I have to respectfully disagree with this. There's an incredibly broad range of games on that service. There's even a search filter for "Under $5" on their store page. Price is irrespective of quality, and from my viewpoint Steam takes all comers.

Hmm... I haven't used STEAM much. I only used it to buy Fallout I and II. Because these were games that I never finished (or played in-depth). I guess now it's generally the PC Game Store online (The place to-go for PC Video Games of any kind).

I'm surprised you can upload anything and STEAM will "sell it"! That's not what I had understood of the PC Platform.

Actually was reading some threads about people LOOKING for "AAA" games and having difficulties FINDING them on STEAM! So probably the platform is as bloated as Google Play for Android Phones.

I never played the original "Wizardry" but I looked at some SCREENSHOTS of "Wizardry 6" and that reminded me a lot of "Eye of the Beholder". From wireframe to texture mapped walls (in 6 generations). I'm thinking your game must look a bit like "Wizardry 6", right???

In any event, I did not want to mislead anyone. Cheers!

Note #1: This reminds me of the amount of SH!T games for the WII (Back in the day). So many games that were cheap and worthless to play...

questccg
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I checked out your development website

And from what I have seen ... What you have developed reminds me strongly of "Wizardry 6". But you should have a look at "Wizardry 8" which is more refined... In any event, you have put in some good work.

My comment about the WII is true... But not related to your Wizardry game. What I mean is that the WII saw a lot of crappy games made for it. Much like I am sure you will find a LOT of crappy content on STEAM nowadays.

You need to keep the game OPEN SOURCE and try to find a couple artists to HELP you out.

Development-wise... I would take a page from "Ogre Battle" and make battle turn-based driven but NOT controlled by the player.

I would also change the HUD into something better... Anyway if you want my feedback send me a PM and I'll reply to you specifically with some ideas. If not... That's okay. It's your game!

larienna
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Quote:Why would you change

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Why would you change over from C++ to C?

I don't want to get into a philosophical or Religious debate about computer languages and paradigms. Let's just say that for me, it's simpler, cleaner and easier to code in plain C. It also have a certain charm that C++ does not have. Think of it like an old cadillac, it does not have GPS and traction control, but the leather seats and the chrome bumper gives it a certain charm.

Quote:
Original Wizardry, which I played a LOT, was terrible by any modern standard. It really has no plot, or even puzzles. The sequels started to add SMALL amounts of plot and more interesting goals (like the armor set in Knight of Diamonds)

True, the original wizardry games had a thin story and many of them had not much to be done in the maze. Still wizardry 5 is much better regarding this. My objective would be to build something close to wizardry 5 in matter of look. The story had never been the strength of the game. I think the challenge and the exploration of the maze was the main point of interest. Wiz 5 added NPC that allowed social interaction to add a bit more of story to the game

Now in matter of gameplay, I expect to go way beyond that. I cannot offer the state of the art video game engine, the only thing I can try to offer is exceptional gameplay. This is why there has been many changes to the mechanics, and there has been new ideas to have various game modes like: a rogue like guild management mode where you can upgrade your city to gain extra features, Randomly generated maze for certain adventures, prisoner/survival mode where there is no city and you must try to escape the dungeon.

I also want combat to be more strategic in matter of choices players can make during combat or character buildup and configuration. But also try to have a light AI for monsters that does not makes entirely random choices.

The game is also designed to support multiple adventures. So beign able to add content after the release is another objective of the project. If I successfully add a maze generator, it could create new adventures on demand.

Quote:
As for content.. if you don't have something very compelling going on in the plot, think about how much you might be able to charge, compared to what's available for $10 on Steam or $1.99 in the Apple Store. Or for free.

Now that is actually more complicated, and this is where a publisher might be helpfull. Since indie old school games are actually getting published, making an old school game does not necessarily imply that it is worth less money. This is why I think gameplay is more important than graphics in this case. The publisher could supply the artwork he wants to make it looks according to his standards. I have seen retro games games at 20$ on steam and Xbox.

Quote:
If however your game is like "Eye of the Beholder" when you go into a dungeon and you need to proceed DEEP ENOUGH to find the Monster you are hunting... That kind of game might not attract anyone these days.

Is that really true. Personally I hate story, because it just slow down and annoy gameplay. I want to play the game, but the character is busy telling me his life instead. "I don't care about your life, tell me who to kill and I'll give it a try." So my philosophy is minimal story to put the game into context, but no deep character development "à la" Dragon Age or Skyrim. More like Mega Man: "Dr Wily is the bad guy and he did something terrible, now go stop him". Again wiz 5 kept it simple by talking to a dozen of NPC found in the maze.

Quote:
The problem is mostly games are no longer valued as high since most mobile games can be obtained for FREE. And yes, that includes a LOT of cr@p too... But there are also some good games too (especially for $0.99 or $1.99) and it's about downloading 1M copies to make some money off of those games.

I agree with that, the mobile market is very different. Now condidering my game requires a keyboard or joystick to play, and considering that it's coded in C, I doubt my game idea would fit for a mobile platform entirely based on touch input. I have other ideas that would fit well on mobile, but not this idea.

The most I could see is PC, Maybe consoles, and certain devices like Raspberry pi, Arduino, etc. Plain C makes it more portable. it's true that Android has the NDK, but my game is not touch friendly. Few people play android with a joystick

Quote:
But it's hard to comment without any screenshots of the game. I don't know maybe you've done a wonderful job in Unity (or Unreal) Engine and the game has potential... IDK.

I have a playable demo of the old game. There is a windows build on my website:

wl.lariennalibrary.com

Many things will change from gameplay to assets, but the technology should be similar. I could for example move from allegro to SDL or another low level library. But the look and feel should be similar.

I cannot use Unity or Unreal as those are commercial engines and it would be too expansive to use. Also even if there is a 3D maze, I cannot use a real 3D engine else I would loose the possibility to have some maze "features" like one way walls, doors, rotators, or teleporters with no feed back to confuse the player during your exploration, etc.

Even if I got assets from professional artists, there is one thing for sure: my game will never look like an AAA game.

Quote:
There's even a search filter for "Under $5" on their store page

Considering I rarely pay more than 10$ for a game on steam or xbox, I think My game would be sold under 5$ or 10$. Since many adventures can be made, it could also be possible to sell expansion packs. Personnally, I would like to give every thing in the same package, but if the publisher wants to sell extras as expansion, he should be capable of doing so.

Quote:
So probably the platform is as bloated as Google Play for Android Phones.

It's less bloated than Android. There has been a period where they were less restrictive and lot of games were released, but I think they restrained a bit more from then.

Quote:
I'm thinking your game must look a bit like "Wizardry 6", right???

I am aiming more Wizardry V on SNES. I want to focus more on gameplay than the visuals, so I massively reduced the amount of assets required by the game. (ex: there will be no more character pictures). So this is why the screen shots on my site will diverge from the final product.

Quote:
But you should have a look at "Wizardry 8" which is more refined

Wizardry 8 sucks badly. This is what definitely killed the franchise. Starting from wiz 6, the franchise was led by somebody else and brought the game in another direction which sen the company bankrupt. The japanese retook the original concepts and made their own line of games. I think lately, the franchise ownership has changed again.

Quote:
You need to keep the game OPEN SOURCE and try to find a couple artists to HELP you out.

Why should I keep the code open? Please justify your point.

For artists, when using a publisher, they can supply art. Else I can do my own and/or ask my friend. But that consume time I could have put on the game design and programming. So if somebody else can take care of the publishing and the assets while I focus on the game, it would be much more easier for me.

This is why I am thinking of writing to indie publishers and ask if my project has some value and has the potential to get published eventually. They could probably make some recommendation allowing me to make adjustments immediately.

By the way, I enjoy the conversation. I like seeing the different point of views.

questccg
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The only reason...

larienna wrote:
Why should I keep the code open? Please justify your point.

Because just like @let-off studios, I believe you should get more people involved. But again, you said you have had no help so far... And you've done a pretty decent job so far. I think it's true... You're designing alone and while you are being productive... It would be nice to have more contributors to your project for "Visibility" issues.

What I mean is if you have 5 friends and you get 2 or 3 contributors that's may 15 to 30 more people who know ABOUT your project. This will mean that more people will be aware and INTERESTED in your project. It's not only about who can code and who cannot... It's about REACH and an audience for your game.

Like @let-off studios said... There might be some "Wizardry Grognards" out-there who might want to participate and join in SHARING your vision for the game with others. The important part is the "sharing" not just the programming. Maybe if you can put together a team of say 5 people, that would be enough to give your game a higher rate of success:

  • Lead Programmer: You.
  • Senior Programmer: To help you out.
  • Graphic Artist: HUD, UI design, Font selection, etc.
  • Lead Illustrator: Objects, Monsters, Characters, etc.
  • Texture Artist: 3D Textures for the game.

And I know ... You are going to say: "Why do I need a Graphic Artist?" He/she can help in Concept Art too... It's about awareness and more people involved = larger crowd of people interested in playing.

Go on REDDIT and say: "These are the resources I am looking for to CONTRIBUTE on my OPEN SOURCE project." Here is why I say KEEP it OPEN SOURCE: because you are offering the game for no monetary value ... Your artists can expect to also contribute to your project at no cost to you.

If you make it COMMERCIAL, everyone is going to want to be PAID UPFRONT (in most cases ... especially artists...!) And that's not something that you can afford to do ATM.

Focus on making the point that it is a REVIVAL project (ergo Legacy) and that you NEED HELP! That's the reasoning for KEEPING the project OPEN SOURCE... Get others to contribute for FREE.

You've done a GREAT job so far... Try to connect with some people and see if they can add a layer or two of additional "eye candy" in addition to getting a resource that can help you out programmatically. Cheers!

questccg
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Another important point

larienna wrote:
Is that really true. Personally I hate story, because it just slow down and annoy gameplay. I want to play the game, but the character is busy telling me his life instead. "I don't care about your life, tell me who to kill and I'll give it a try."

You are in a minority. MOST players play the games because they are more immersive and follow some kind of general plot and have twists & turns in the outcome of said plot.

I know you are saying: "Why do I need a story??? Or quests?? Or NPCs?"

Look at Fallout 76 by Bethesda.

They tried to rid the game of NPCs. They replaced them with robots, computer terminals and tapes (I believe audio only).

EVERYONE WAS P!SSED OFF! They were all saying: "Bring back the NPCs!" So Bethesda in the Wastelanders Update brought back a dozen or so NPCs so that the players could interact with these characters.

Wandering a maze for no apparent reason is very BORING. I can't believe that you think having no side-quests aside from the advancement of the main plot (which you also need) is the "right" way to go... Clearly most computer games required a story or some kind of narrative. Some had very minimal story like "Doom" or "Wolfenstein 3D" but those were some of the first FPS to market and that "technology" made them innovative. Plus multiplayer games were a heck of a lot of FUN too!

I'm not saying you should go ahead and add bunch of NPCs... I'm just saying you should CONSIDER "adding" a story/narrative and quests. Sometimes quests can be found in a backpack of a dead skeleton (for example) or in a meeting room (on one level).

Also from a "technical perspective" I would TRY to embed the "random level" (which I think is very cool) but add some specific ROOMS which are REQUIRED to exist for that level. So say there is a level which requires an Alchemist's Laboratory... Random level + required rooms (for the plot and storyline/narrative to evolve).

Again feel free to disregard my suggestions/feedback/comments ... I am just presenting you with some ideas and a different perspective...

questccg
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Something to consider

I also think your game needs "secrets". Be it items and or characters, side quests, etc. You should have a "screen" that you can choose at any time indicating the amount of "progress" you have completed in your current level.

So if you reach the END of level (staircase, ladder, elevator, etc.) and it says 50% only... You know that you have NOT completed the level... There are still some secrets (which could be 0%) and so you've got to go back into your level and search for things you may have missed.

I know this is ANNOYING to do...

But the alternative is like in "Ogre Battle": on the 2nd level if you find a hidden temple on an island and get the "Star of Heroes" from it... So that you can get the "BEST ENDING"...

That is some pure sh!t. On the 2nd level if you miss it... How do you know you need to travel all the way back to Level 2 ... To FIND IT!

That's why I encourage you to offer stats regarding the COMPLETION of a LEVEL. Players will know WHEN they missed something important and require a bit more effort to search the level before moving on to the next one.

Again you may like this idea or not. But a completion page would be key in making this a nice game ... To a really COOL game that helps you along. Cheers!

questccg
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Not necessarily 100% utilization

questccg wrote:
Maybe if you can put together a team of say 5 people, that would be enough to give your game a higher rate of success:

  • Lead Programmer: You.
  • Senior Programmer: To help you out.
  • Graphic Artist: HUD, UI design, Font selection, etc.
  • Lead Illustrator: Objects, Monsters, Characters, etc.
  • Texture Artist: 3D Textures for the game.

And I know ... You are going to say: "Why do I need a Graphic Artist?"

What I wanted to add is that MAYBE you have a Graphic Artist design your HUD... And choose fonts for the game, maybe nicer looking windows, etc. It doesn't mean you need this person FULL-TIME. No you need them for specific duties. And while you will probably get more mileage from a Lead Illustrator or Texture Artist... Again it doesn't mean you require them also to be full-time either.

So it's not about full-time effort... It's about accomplishing WORK to-be-done. Anyhow, I realize that you probably won't agree... But this is my opinion on the subject matter. Cheers!

questccg
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HUD hidden with TAB control

I was thinking about "Wizardry 8" (Wiz8) which was supposed to be the LATEST and GREATEST of the series... And I agree with you... They missed the mark.

I would suggest going with a PARTY of up to 6 characters now that you are getting rid of the "visuals". And make the characters appear on the BOTTOM of the page (not sides as in your design and Wiz8).

Also if you hit TAB, you can HIDE the character HUD for a larger screen experience...

Again just an idea. If you Right-Click on a party members' STATS, you get a context menu for configuring the AI: Defend, Partial Attack, Full Attack, Magic (for some characters), Equip (select items to be used by the AI of the character)... And forego the traditional "turn-based" format and go for AI type of combat. Why? Because I think it would be NOVEL.

And it's cool that when you encounter ENEMIES not NPCs ... The AI knows it should COMBAT those enemies and starts the Turn-Based AI for attacking the the baddies ahead of your party.

Just some additional ideas. (Okay I will stop posting... I'm waiting for my game from TGC and it is taking time... So I have a lot of time on my hands ATM...) Cheers!

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They wont sell anything

questccg wrote:
I'm surprised you can upload anything and STEAM will "sell it"! That's not what I had understood of the PC Platform.

They wont sell anything. There's some less than clear restrictions on content. PC games can be and still are distributed directly by the developers, which is a distribution model I strongly prefer.

questccg
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Lands of Lore 1 is a classic with all kinds of mazes!

larienna wrote:
...My objective would be to build something close to wizardry 5 in matter of look. The story had never been the strength of the game. I think the challenge and the exploration of the maze was the main point of interest. Wiz 5 added NPC that allowed social interaction to add a bit more of story to the game...

Google "Lands of Lore 1 screenshots".

Now that was an EPIC game! You had towns, castles, dungeons, forests, etc.

You should take a look at that game instead of Wizardry 5. Lands of Lore was one of the most in-detail MAZE based game with a huge story and lots of side-quests too. Just something to think about... And examine how another game did it! Best.

questccg
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Can you explain further???

Guest1 wrote:
They wont sell anything...

There's some less than clear restrictions on content. PC games can be and still are distributed directly by the developers, which is a distribution model I strongly prefer.

What are you saying? You can't upload a game and choose a price point and SELL it on STEAM?! If this is TRUE, then I thought there was some kind of "filtering" of game content. I had a hard time believing it was like Google Play where anyone can upload an app and sell it for $0.99 or $1.99...

Can you clarify what "restrictions" you are talking about???

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I'm not familiar with the

I'm not familiar with the pricing structure. By restrictions, I'm mainly referring to sexual content, though there could be more that I'm also not familiar with. Steam does in fact allow 18+ games, but their rules on that a pretty unclear and games have went from banned to unbanned before seemingly on a whim. This may not bother most people, but it rubs me the wrong way.

larienna
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Quote:If you make it

Quote:
If you make it COMMERCIAL, everyone is going to want to be PAID UPFRONT

This is why I would be more aiming to get a publisher. They already have a team, they are already paying people to do stuff. If I supply the editing tools, they could possibly even create adventures and stories. So I don't have to do the social networking.

In that case, I would be more a game mechanic designer + game programmer. They would get a bigger cut, of course, but I don't care as I get less work than if I was self publishing.

I seem to prefer working solo when I program. So even if I could get support I don't think I would like any body to touch at my code unless they are doing a side module independent from the game. Support for everything else is OK.

questccg
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Hmm... Does this even exist?

larienna wrote:
Quote:
If you make it COMMERCIAL, everyone is going to want to be PAID UPFRONT

This is why I would be more aiming to get a publisher. They already have a team, they are already paying people to do stuff. If I supply the editing tools, they could possibly even create adventures and stories. So I don't have to do the social networking...

My question to you is: "Do you know of any type of Video Game Publisher which publishes Indie games that are incomplete???"

I think the answer is NO.

Even Triple A (AAA) games require that a project be very ADVANCED before a Publisher for the game will come on board. But usually a STUDIO has a crew running and working BEFORE a Publisher comes to help PUBLICIZE and to promote the game.

You are thinking it's like TableTop Game Design. It isn't. Sure in TableTop the PUBLISHER makes the art and finalizes the game. They go off of a WORKING prototype.

But in the Video Game World it is different. The PUBLISHER you are talking about takes a nearly completed game and starts to MARKET and spread the word about the game... They don't do the ART ... The STUDIO is responsible for the product. The PUBLISHER just does the MARKETING and used to handle the sales portion too. They also handle the PRODUCTION ... Meaning making PHYSICAL CDs, BOXES and Manuals for the game. But it's up to the STUDIO to FINISH the game before it can be MADE and SOLD.

I don't know with STEAM. I am old-school. I looked at it and someone said that there is a $100 USD Listing Fee for every game sold on STEAM. And if you SELL more than $1000 USD in product, they will reimburse the $100 USD fee. But maybe my source of information is incorrect... I read it on a STEAM forum. But then again the forum information can be "outdated" too.

The other possibility is that you DESIGN and DEVELOP your OWN engine. If you do that, then you can become affiliated with a GAME STUDIO that has the capacity to produce levels, character art (monsters, etc.) and textures for a FPS type of game. But most people are now using UNITY and C#.

So IDK if there exists the type of "organization" you are looking for...?

I hope you do find someone. But from what I know... I don't believe such type of people exist (PUBLISHER that does the leg-work for a Video Game). Like I said, PUBLISHERS in the VG market used to be responsible for production and world-wide distribution of physical copies in countries around the world. Not to mention the advertising and marketing of said games to everyone who has a computer.

But best of luck(?!) to you and your game... Cheers!

larienna
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Quote:"Do you know of any

Quote:
"Do you know of any type of Video Game Publisher which publishes Indie games that are incomplete???"

Simple, that is their job, or their new job especially for indie publishing.

I could not find the article I read about it. I found this article that is close, but not exactly what I was looking for.

Indie Game Publishers

Now I don't say that all game publishers will do assets. But there has been publishers that evaluated the needs of game developers which included making assets.

The publisher evaluates if what you are making has any value and has potential to make money. The more you "service" you ask from them, the bigger is their cut. Personally, I do not really care. I would be happy to have a cut as low as 20% if it gives me less work.


I did more search on open source software in video games, and most of the time open source is more likely to be common for Game Engines and Libraries and way less common for the game itself to have open source code.

I agree with the idea of keeping game engine code open so that others can reuse it. I don't have much code from my game that could be extracted as a library to be reused in other games. I could see at most the maze and the editor if somebody else want to make another maze based game. The text based window user interface is another things that could be reused in other games.

If there is really a need, I could always reopen those portions of the code later.

questccg
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I doubt it

larienna wrote:
...The publisher evaluates if what you are making has any value and has potential to make money. The more "service" you ask from them, the bigger is their cut. Personally, I do not really care. I would be happy to have a cut as low as 20% if it gives me less work...

IDK @Eric... Sounds like 20% is a number coming from your HAT. Look TableTop publishers give you 8% at maximum. There is a big difference between 3-5% off of the MSRP (and up to 5-8% on Wholesale pricing) and 20%... Like I said, if you find someone interested GREAT. But I think your expectations are set way too HIGH ... And I don't want you to be disappointed.

Just last year I went to a VIDEO GAME Conference. And I talked with several of the Developers. Most were told they "had to make it on their OWN"! And it's a tough business most people cannot handle. They are always looking for GOOD (even GREAT) ideas to help develop into games. And most design the games with AMAZING ART and GRAPHICS. Still they are left on their OWN. "Indie" are "Independent" and work through the development into making the game a reality.

Again if you find someone interested GREAT! But I don't see the Quebec Market as being welcoming EVEN for the "Indie" Developers I met at that VIDEO GAME Conference.

Lot of them had pretty decent prototypes of the games that they were working on ... And still did NOT have a "Publisher" as you think. I'm not speaking through my HAT because I WENT to a VIDEO GAME Conference and spoke with a bunch of Developers, Studios (some larger) and even to some Canadian Organization that funds Projects. It's a TOUGH business.

Again YMMV but ... from what I have seen... You really need to UP your game if you think you can compete with the Developers I've seen...

questccg
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Another option: Kickstarter or IndieGoGo

If you can CONVINCE GAMERS to buy into your game... Maybe you can make the project for $100k in 1 years time (so 12 Months). You can PAY each the artists (one texture illustrator and one character/item/equipment artist too) and each get $45k or you can take less and pay some monies for a freelance Graphic Designer for some artwork too...

You can make it DOWNLOADABLE (maybe)?!

Not sure how to get people to PAY for it... You'd need to have some kind of License Key system too... Sorry it's a bit complex too...

I'm just saying you can MAYBE go down that route. IDK. I personally think it would be POSSIBLE but HARD to accomplish the goal.

But I figured I'd suggest it anyways in the event that you are interested in "Self-Publishing"...

Note #1: Or if you can make it for $90k and two (2) Artist (Texture and Monsters/Items/Equipment) and some monies for a freelance Graphic Designer (like $40k each + $10k freelancing) and paid nothing to yourself.

And manage the KEYs so that you could charge like $45 USD for the KS or IGG backers and then sell licenses for more say $50 USD for retail/downloadable. It would REQUIRE 2000 Backers ... But could be possible and then you can make money on whatever sales happen AFTERWARDS. ALL YOUR INCOME ... Because you paid for everyone part of your team with the KS/IGG Funds!

If you sell maybe 1000 more copies, that's $50k USD in your pocket. Or if the game is very popular maybe more. But remember you paid everyone UP-FRONT (or during the process). So it stands that YOU make all the monies on whatever sales happen afterwards.

Note #2: Make it 6 month contracts and it can be $20k each and $5k-10k for the Graphics Designer. This would mean a GOAL of 6 months and $50k USD. And have resources on staff for contracts for a pre-defined time. You would have to be the Developer and Project Manager and make sure things are being done and that the project advances.

I think $50k USD is FEASIBLE (and works for 6 month terms). But you can TRY to go for the $90k USD goal too... (And make it last 1 year...) I think the 1 YEAR contracts make more sense TBH. It's hard to get excited for $20k USD (or $25k CAD). But for $50k CAD for a year long contract for textures and art assets ... That could be do-able. I don't think people would pass on the offer. I think you could get a couple people to really help you out at that rate.

Anyhow these are just thoughts and ideas. What you do is determined by I guess your biggest chance of success!

questccg
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You need BALLS OF STEEL

larienna wrote:
...Now I don't say that all game publishers will do assets. But there has been publishers that evaluated the needs of game developers which included making assets...

I don't code Video Games ... Because HONESTLY I don't have the "stomach" for the business. What I mean is you need to HIRE people to be part of your crew and like I said, 6 month contracts don't make anyone HAPPY. Maybe 1 Year contracts are more reasonable ... But then we are talking in the $100k RANGE for a couple of full-time artists/illustrators.

I know you are going to say 1 Year "contracts"?!?! Are you crazy??? No I am not, this is the norm for the industry. You need to PLAN and take A LEAP and be a real badass entrepreneur with balls of steel. It's like "betting the farm" and doing something that MUST SUCCEED. You really have to believe and you really need to COMMIT towards the project if you want it to succeed.

And when I say "SUCCEED" I mean DELIVERING the GAME on-time to the Backers and then going with $0.00 and trying to get even more popularity and sales such that all the rest would be pure RETURN on INVESTMENT capital/royalties.

The Video Game market is for people with BALL OF STEEL. There is so much competition and a lot of it is NOISE because everyone waits for the Triple A (AAA) Titles and the rest make very little money and often don't see a return on their investment.

But if YOU think that you can MAKE IT HAPPEN in 1 Year with 2 Artists and 1 Graphic Designer (freelancer) ... GO FOR IT! It's a VERY TOUGH GIG... I would never try it. I don't have good Video Game ideas anymore. Maybe in the back in the 80s I had more of a chance... When Sierra was publishing 16 Color EGA graphics with a AdLib Music Card...! I hear UNITY is real neat and watched some videos... But like I said... Not for me.

I'd like to have my own LAB for TableTop Design, have an Artist on staff with maybe a full-time Graphic Designer too... Get my current writer to be my "freelancer" writer (for TradeWorlds and other games). Have a saleperson responsible for pushing product around the globe, etc.

But NOT Video Games. Not for me.

questccg
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BTW compared to the TableTop industry

TradeWorlds and it's Expansions (4 of them) cost about $10,000 CAD (BTW I paid $4,000 CAD and my publisher paid $6,000 CAD) to make. Quest Adventure Cards(tm) art budget was about $5,000 CAD to get all the art for that first game. Now working on my 3rd title will be around $6,500 CAD.

The typical budget for a TableTop Game is about $4,000 USD (or $5,000 CAD).

The 3rd game is a bit over the budget ... But it's because we are making AWESOME art for the game ... To really HELP in the "Eye Candy" department. And I am working with yet another Canadian Artist to make "Crystal Heroes" (CH) the best possible looking game for the streamlined design.

So there is a BIG difference in terms of what is affordable in terms of art and assets in the TableTop Industry... It's just a matter of appealing to all the Gamers and hoping they are excited to see more content.

I don't have "BALLS OF STEEL" ... I take smaller projects and try to grow one-step-at-a-time. Baby steps... (lol) Like I said, I don't have any great Video Game ideas (even). So this is not a market that would interest me (to go into "Indie" development and such...)

But that gives you a comparison on my own efforts and how I am doing my own PERSONAL BEST and trying to appeal to the Gaming community. Cheers!

larienna
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I originally only intended to

I originally only intended to self publish if releasing games on Android which are smaller projects.

Remember that the board game market is different than the video game market.

If I ever hire people art or anything. It might more likely to be small contract like those on Fivers. I don't expect to hire people for months or years. I want to keep all cost low. I rather share royalties than handle large sums of money.

Remember that I try to keep assets low for multiple reasons: First, Lower cost and therefore, lower sell price. Second, easier programming, therefore less programming time.

For example, the text based interface allows me to build a dialog containing information with a single line of code using a display format + SQL query. Doing a dialog with labels, combo boxes and buttons, would take way more lines of code to develop.

I don't expect to publish locally, or satisfy the needs of my local area.

I understand that competition is strong in the video game industry. This is why I mostly wanted to self-publish small strategy games on Android since people don't do much strategy games.

Now I just happened to have that project on my hard drive and wondered if it could be worth publishing after refactoring. Now I have seen other games even on Xbox that are not AAA games and which have an old school look. Some of them are good, and some of them are bad. If those game could make it, I though that it should still be something possible to do.

How exactly, that is still to determine. I am exploring options.

If I really build the game completely, I can always rely on royalty free assets, or make my own assets with digital painting. It will cost me time, but it can be done.

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I think I have somewhat

I think I have somewhat answered my question.

Should I keep my source open? I think the answer is NO.

First, because I am probably OCD and I don't like people to play around with my code.

Second, because what I am programming has little re-usability value for other projects or games. If there is a demand for re-usability, I could then extract that portion of code and create a library with it.

Now, will it remain a free project, or will I attempt to publish it, that could be resolved later. Meanwhile I could still release demos on my website and once the project is getting more and more complete, I could look at my commercialization options. I will also have something more complete to present if I contact publishers.

questccg
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Sounds like you have answered your own question!

larienna wrote:
...Now I have seen other games even on Xbox that are not AAA games and which have an old school look. Some of them are good, and some of them are bad. If those game could make it, I though that it should still be something possible to do...

I think this bring up several other questions: how many of those old school look games succeed? And if the majority fail, how much was invested into those ventures?? Also what is the percentage break between good and bad???

As far as the question of OPEN SOURCE or not... The only REAL REASON to keep it open source is to get CONTRIBUTORS FREE. That means having a Graphic Designer do some freelance work at no cost. Get your artists and/or illustrators to do textures and assets free of charge too... And obviously everyone gets their name in the credits for whatever they did.

If you're not going the FREE route ... Then I would make it closed source. And if you don't want anyone messing with the code with checking-in bad edits or crappy code... Again I would close the source. If you are going to explore Fiverr and pay-per project (which BTW are expensive TBH because you many not get economies of scale; unless you negotiate it), then again I would make it closed source...

Like I said OPEN SOURCE, only if you wanted FREE CONTRIBUTORS. If you want to outsource and pay for art ... Well it sounds to me like it would be best closed source (in light of some of your answers and future direction). Cheers!

larienna
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Quote:If you're not going the

Quote:
If you're not going the FREE route ... Then I would make it closed source.

Hmm! not exactly. I can keep the code closed under my copyright and still release the game as a free game with contributors for assets, and adventures. I think Zelda Classic was a free game with closed source. It could have changed by now.

But if I do close the sources

1. I cannot get contribution for CODE unless I want to share my copyright with this contributor and open the source just for him.

2. Other people cannot reuse my CODE for their own project.

So the openness of the code is irrelevant of the publishing methods. I could make a commercial or a free game and still keep my code closed. The opposite is less common, most open source games are free, but there are a few commercial open source games.

So I could close the source now, and decide later which publishing route I choose. Meanwhile releasing free demos as the game progress.

questccg
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Well that's a pretty good point ... except...

I think it may be a "hard sell" to convince people to work FREELY on a closed source project. When you think "Open Source", you think free contributors. I know majorly on the SOURCE CODE (Yes, it "sometimes" mean more than on person coding) usually implies a FREE OPEN PROJECT. It kind of SUGGESTS that the contributors all collaborate FREELY and do so at no cost to the person managing the project.

I'm not saying it's "impossible" ... I'm just saying it's HARDER to convince people to work on a CLOSED SOURCE project for no income other than credits ... Because those contributors are not SURE if the end-product is going to be FREE or not. And because it's NOT FREE means that someone is making money off the project while the contributors made nothing...

Do you see what I am saying???

I'm not saying you're trying to steal people's monies... I'm just saying it will be HARDER to get people to stand with you and work as a team IF you are NOT paying them.

But you are right in a way: just because it's closed source, doesn't mean that the game cannot be offered freely (at no charge to the consumer). It's just because it becomes a bit "blurred lines" in what is FREE if the entire project is NOT FREE.

I think you will need to figure out ... WHAT do YOU want to get out of this "Game"?! Do you want to SELL IT and make money? Or do you want it to be a FREE Fan Project that will be available to download by all? There is nothing wrong with a FREE Fan Project... But because if you choose to sell the game, your contributors might want to be paid up-front.

I'm just stating that PROJECTS for MONEY (TableTop or Video Game) are in a different category than say "Free Games". And you'll need to figure out what YOU want to do... And from there determine IF you can find people to work on your project (Artists, Illustrators and Graphic Designers) in the correct capacity based on your own intentions.

And that might be a bit HARD ATM. But you've proved that even CLOSED SOURCE could imply a FREE end-product. It's just that IF that is the case, you'll have to make that very clear and the contributors need to understand the proper nature of the project.

If this is your FIRST "Video Game" ... Well maybe FREE isn't bad. But IF you do go down this route... Make sure everyone UNDERSTANDS your approach. Of course, credit goes to everyone who works on the project and state that the game can be used in their portfolios too!

This is the project I worked on for 6 months doing things like "X" (Texture or Assets) or "Y" (Concept or Character Art)...! You might even require a sound engineer ... to make some mood/environmental music! And maybe a Writer to pen down some kind of general Story Arc and then go from there and "flesh out" the details to YOUR story.

I've had GREAT SUCCESS with Writers too! So I know it's possible to find someone who CAN WRITE FICTION. You just got to shop around and ask for their THOUGHTS on the matter before choosing the writer that is right for you...

Ultimately what I am saying is that YOU NEED "contributors". Otherwise your concept may never attract anyone because your product remains incomplete or not sufficiently detailed (like missing textures, missing a story, missing quests and sub-adventures, missing characters, missing items/equipment, etc.) The MORE you GET COMPLETED... The more refined the game will be ... And the more PROFESSIONAL the end-product will also be. That's how you can get some real nice notoriety and kudos for a job well done!

Again this is my opinion... You can take whatever and decide what are your own impressions. This is feedback and some of my own thoughts on the matter. They are NOT "Hard Truths"... Just sharing my opinion with you and seeing how you interpret it.

Cheers!

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