The brand new developer philosophy

I have noticed this phenomena across many different engines over many years. The brand new game developer has these grand plans of making the next amazing fps or rpg.

The problem with an fps is, we have tons of them already and the bar for them is raised so high that I have to wonder what these developers are thinking when they show these wips of their new fps. I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade and if these developers are completely aware of the undertaking they are involved with, then by all means, continue.

I just feel that many new developers do not realize how much time it takes to make a quality fps, rpg takes much longer. It took a seasoned team of people 2 years to make gears of war 2. How long would it take for a new developer?

Again, don’t get me wrong. If your doing it just for experience, have at it. I just think these new guys are not being realistic with their projects. Try instead of a huge fps, try a 2d side scroller or puzzler. Produce a few of these so your name is out there with fully produced games and then sit back and spend time on your master piece fps or rpg.

Am I completely wrong guys? Tell me what you think.

It’s completely true that a very small team will have an extremely hard time (it’s probably almost impossible) creating something with the quality of Battlefield 4 or such AAA titles.
What you have to consider though, is that these triple A titles are only breaking new ground in terms of graphics and such. Very, very few of them dares to venture into new gameplay territories that are radically different to the norm (and rightfully so), since they can’t bet that kind of money on something that hasn’t been proven yet.
Another thing that causes this repeating use of the same old kind of gameplay is that it sells, and it’s what the masses wants, but there are still tons of players looking for something different.

If you want something new in terms of gameplay you’ll have to look at the smaller studios and indie developers. Sure the games won’t look as good, but as far as I’m concerned gameplay is the most important. I can live with an ugly game if the gameplay is good.
Just look at the recent, most obvious successes that didn’t use the old traditional gameplay types, games such as Minecraft and the DayZ mod (let’s just never talk about standalone ever). Neither of them would ever have gotten of the ground if proposed to a big publisher before they had been proven, but still managed to get huge success despite Minecraft starting off as a one man java project and DayZ as a one man mod of a fairly successful but not even remotely as big game as BF or any other triple A title.

I haven’t played a Triple A title since Skyrim and don’t intend to play any of the coming ones I know about, due to the fact that publishers are (rightfully) afraid of trying new stuff.
Therefore I play only indie titles which many started out as a very, very small team. Games such as Life Is Feudal, Mortal Online, Cubeworld, Terraria, Xsyon and many more are all titles that would never have been picked up by the big guys, but still found success and a playerbase.
All of these dared to try something new, they might not have the graphic fidelity of the latest games but I’d say gameplay far exceeds many of the big titles.
It’s not about fighting the big guys for their playerbase, it’s about finding what’s missing and bringing that to the people that wants something different.

While it might be a good idea for some people to start out with a puzzler or similar, I don’t think it’s a good suggestion for everyone.
If you want to keep motivated I think you should create what you like, not what you think you can **** out in a few months to earn a few bucks.
If I started out making side scrollers for a year or so before pursuing my end goal, that would have been a year more or less wasted as it doesn’t interest or motivate me.

We’ve been working on our project for two years now, it’s a huge undertaking for our small team, but it’s slowly getting there, and it keeps motvating us.
We even started out with smaller expectations than now, we started out with way worse greaphics and have since moved on and re-done most of our assets to fit what we now want to accomplish.
You should make the game you want, and instead of half-assing it for the sake of finishing it quickly you should split the project up in smaller goals.
That way you get to finish something which is a good way of keeping motivated, but still work towards your end goal.
Sure, you still have to be realistic, you won’t create the new Wow as a one man team, but you don’t have to start out making packman just because you’re small.
Make something you can be proud of, as long as you’re not afraid of working hard. If you can’t work hard, then you won’t make it anyway.

I think it is more that people just want to make the game they wish someone else had made. Or want to be the next Mojang, Overkill Software, The Fullbright Company, Introversion Software, Number None, Inc, Suspicious Developments, etc etc.

The list is long and getting longer. Of course many will fail. But, personally, I don’t want to make games. I want to make MY game.

(And it’s going to be awesome. :wink: )

I would have to agree with what Sitrec said.

That said - I would like to expand on it in my own way -

  1. Function over form - Do not aim for AAA level art in your video game. While awesome graphics may help sell your game - They should not be the focus. Focus on Function of your game primarily. Focus on highly interactive game environments such as the Thief and Dues Ex games from ION storm and Looking Glass Studios.

An example of this that stuck with me all these years is Duke Nukem 3D on Level 1 - You could blow up toilets, Walls, you could turn on/off various things such as lights, hand dryers, etc. these stupid little things add to the player experience and can affect game play if you want it to. :slight_smile:

  1. Make something that makes YOU happy - For example I like FPS Games with optional Stealth mechanics. I am currently making something along these lines.
  2. Keep your first game simple - Like it says keep your first game simple. It is easy to get overwhelmed and loose track of the goal make a finished game.

Indeed! That’s why extensive prototyping is so important. If you can’t make it fun/interesting (or whatever experience you’re going for) with simple and ugly assets, it’s not likely to improve just because you polish up the graphics. Once the correct experience is achieved however, great visuals can only improve the final result further.

You forgot about “hey lets make best ever MMO” types. They usually post for 2-3 weeks then there is eternity of silence.
Another issue is that most of “idea guys” just go silent after 2-3 posts, only few ever return or learn anything related to making games.

As this community member I am quite frustrated, I want to help them but it is quite impossible. If I write above it looks like I am trolling or at best being very sarcastic.
When I write that they should start with tiny project rather than MMO they just ignore me. And not replying to their post makes us as community look bad.

And I agree to everything you wrote in OP. I know some guys that are very dedicated and skilled, work on mod like its second job (or first) it literally takes years to make game. I fear that by time they finish it that game will be quite outdated, they just do not have manpower to finish it in time before new wave of shiny engines or to update content they have to new engine. The bigger you go the more work you need at certain size you just cannot finish project with 5 ppl team.

This presentations shows exactly what you wrote and how game devs should approach this:

It’s something that less experienced devs usually tend to do.

Also remember that these devs are usually are not even in their twenties, and most of them suffer from Dunning Kruger. It’s not me being a douche, but something I witnessed over the past few years in the “internet community”, not only devs, all kind of people.

I’m 32 years old, I had my “lets make the best game ever” moments, but once you understand the huge amount of work it takes to make something of quality, you understand that:

1- you go the Minecraft route (7+ years IIRC of development of a one man team).
2- you start making simple games first. Simple doesn’t mean cheap and awful. You can develop polished, well defined and short games. Don’t confuse both.

But… yeah, I agree with OP.

Anyway, I’m learning UE4 with those amazingly well made tutorials, and I’m enjoying the ride quite a bit. Actually, lately I’m using UE4 a a game instead of a tool, how cool is that…

In my particular case, I got a well defined idea in mind, and the artistic aspect is doable, so, in theory, in 1-1.5 years of using my free time I expect to have something cool out there. Game will be free anyways, this is a hobby’s project.

I don’t see a problem with reaching for the stars. Its what Game Dev Dreams are made of. UE4 gives hope to accomplishing those dreams. Most have to feel this truth for themselves. Taking a fall a many times over, before they learn to walk, code, model, animate, etc. Sometimes this learning process takes 10 years or more to figure out. Its all about perseverance and learning. In Game Dev one creates goals, devises plans, executes plans, complete goals. These are lessons one can apply to various aspects of life. Game Dev in my opinion, is a life style. There be Magic in thinking Big, so let them dream big games.

I don’t see a problem with reaching for the stars. Its what Game Dev Dreams are made of. UE4 gives hope to accomplishing those dreams. Most have to feel this truth for themselves. Taking a fall a many times over, before they learn to walk, code, model, animate, etc. Sometimes this learning process takes 10 years or more to figure out. Its all about perseverance and learning. In Game Dev one creates goals, devises plans, executes plans, complete goals. These are lessons one can apply to various aspects of life. Game Dev in my opinion, is a life style. There be Magic in thinking Big, so let them dream big games.

I disagree, the average brand new game developer just makes clones, the percentage of guys wanting to do the next AMAZING game is very low.

I personally made a Diablo style game in about 4 months with Unity just for a laugh, it wasn’t even my main project so I didn’t have that much time to spend on it. For our open world project I must admit it’s a grind, very difficult and 95% of issues come from artwork. Just the shear amount of flapping gums, cut scenes, mesh performance tweaks, lightmapping issues, animation problems.

I think you have to compromise in areas, I’m thinking about scaling things back a little and taking it one step at a time and we don’t have a small team either. Plus learning a new engine on top of it is really adding to the mountain of work… But I have to agree with Techlord, you never get anywhere if you rinse and repeat the basics… Push for the stars, find the common ground and then scale it back to something manageable…

RPG games = fun to play, horrible to make and that’s why when we see a new guy pop out of nowhere saying OMG going to make the best MMORPGZ EVERZ! You just have to smile :D…

For me I’ve been playing around with little bits and pieces in various engines for a few years now, nothing bit and nothing released as they were all quite poor let’s put it that way.

Game Making is a bit on the side and I am very lucky in that I have a Job that pays my bills so I’m able to make whatever I want and take as long as I want, which is a great bonus. I have an idea for a larger game but I’m taking it one step at a time. First I’m making a character, then when I have that I’ll make a village to run around and interact with, then some enemy to kill etc, incrementally making it larger and more complex each step.

I don’t think its bad to necessarily want to make something larger to begin with as long as your objectives are realistic. Is my game going to be the next big thing? Probably not. Am I enjoying the challenge of creating something that I want to play? Most definitely.

I class myself as very lucky to be able to use professional tools for my secondary work. Its a huge challenge to learn properly, but I think that if we manage our expectations and set realistic goals then I don’t think it’s unrealistic to make large games. The issue comes when people get upset when they mix UE4 up with a straight up level editor and want all the functionality programmed by Epic and all they have to do is put the bits and pieces down on the map. With that mentality then even then most rudimentary and simply concepts will be difficult.

Hope that makes sense.

I don’t even like calling that attitude ambitious because to me, ambitious is when you have a skill and want to apply it. It’s not when you want something “really really bad” and have no skills.

Another reason you get the dreamer type attitude is the disconnect from understanding that games are complex pieces of software that take a lot of time and expertise to develop. They currently have this perception of being easy to create because a lot of things in our society have moved towards automation.

You will never find anyone on an automotive forum asking how to build their own car brand because most people understand that engineering is hard. Working with metals is hard. Aerodynamics, physics, energy ratios, electric engineering- all the knowledge needed to build a car that you simple turn on and drive, is not a simple feat at all. As a society we mostly respect that and understand the barrier of entry.

Now look at the book or music industry- literally 20 years ago it would cost you thousands of dollars to self publish anything. Now I can order a custom book online for $15. Delivered to my house. If you can read & write, you can make a functioning book now. It may not be great, but you no longer have the prohibitive cost barrier. It’s almost pure content creation, if you can dream it, you can do it.

Games on the other hand are working machines. They have to function, there is a process to organizing that function and executing on it. They are composed of thousands if not millions of parts that are all dependent on each other to execute correctly. But what most end users see is a start button, and a lot of the same features they saw in other games. You get this idea that the developer didn’t really do anything because this game has guns and levels like the last game. You hear this a lot. Gamers saying a developer is lazy. They don’t realize every time a game is made almost everything is created from the beginning. To use the book analogy again- every game is like building the printing press, type setting machine, binder, paper mill AND writing/editing the book- each time a game is made. I understand there are engines to use as a starting point and other features that help this process along. It’s no where near the level that authoring is at now.

My advice to any kids wanting to make an MMO or an FPS/RPG/RTS is to either learn a skill first or write a book- because there are literally no limits to what you can write about.

That is a very good point. There is a lot of confusion that the UE4 editor is a level editor for a working game, not the starting point for the entire system.

It’s about doing something that interests you, personally I dislike platformers and anything that might be for mobile or facebook etc etc.
So instead I keep plodding along, learning things that could be handy to know if you wanted to make a demo of an MMO, without annoying everyone on the forums =p

People are going to do what they’re interested in, maybe it’ll be a smoother ride if they start of more simple but for some people that approach doesn’t work so well.

So much this OP.

I fell into what i call the “hype trap” and tried making a MGS-esque game whose graphics i wanted to be the same as MGS V Ground Zeroes which i soon realized that its very unrealistic. I should instead play around in UE4 and see how it works to get an idea of what it does.

I have now created small projects for me to do which will keep me interested.

For example i want to create a project where you have an object that is movable. I want to then place that object in a special area whose gravity can be changed by pressing a button.

So i am just seeing what interesting things that are small i can accomplish.

MGS V Ground Zeroes visuals ain’t exactly ground breaking (pun intended). You can definately create game that looks as good, if not better in UE4. Some of the scene posted here by members already prove of that. Its only a matter of talent and committement.

However, its impossible to have the same scale as AAA games at the same visual quality (because, you know it required manpower resources).
So you either have to go for simplified visuals with big scope/level, or better visuals, but smaller scope/level.

Also of course big studio have access to motion capture, voice talents, composer, making full Cutscenes etc that many of us have no access to.

In the end, we just have to set up to make game that you realistically can do, in a way its manageble by your team or yourself.

Anyway, this is how I set up my game.
I am making a first person adventure game with target of 3-5 hours play time. A locked room puzzle style similar to ‘Gone home’ & inspired by the flash game ‘Crimson room’.

-The game will take play 80% in a house, & 20% outside the house immediate surroundings. It will be Winter & snow cover so I do not need to make much foilage.
This make it manageable for me. I cannot make a complete level by myself, but a house is managable. Beside many asserts can be reused, like funiture, basins, even complete rooms. I will use different wallpapers, & furiture arrangement, wall pictures & some props to distingush them which save me even more time.

-All narration & Cutscenes will be slideshows or in form of documents.

  • No character/AI (Similar to gone home). You will however see your main character as ‘still’ or maybe very ‘subtle animation’ at some keypoints (just so people know how the main character looks) with simple camera panning.

  • All music / sounds are from free source or self record (sound).

  • Only main character will have voice. (Cutscene may or may not have voice, depends on budgets and time).

  • Focus on strong narration/puzzles over visual effects & scale.

  • All ideas, gameplay & design choices, are classified in
    4 stars-critical for game,
    3-stars-Should have,
    2-Stars-Good to have, if only time/budget allow,
    1 star-better keep in a locker for now.

Then I focus on making asserts/levels, codes on the 4 & 3 stars items. Only when the game is mature will I look into 2 stars. This way, I make sure my resource & time are well spend & not lose sight or the schdule.

Just think of ‘gone home’ (but with an even smaller home), but with less document to read, and more puzzles to solve. Puzzle will be more inline of finding keys, combine items & use it, findng password from clues, so they are less resource heavy than say enivonmental puzzles, & limited more by creativity.

What someone needs to make is a FPS game-maker. Really simple that anyone can use. They will make a TONNE of money!

@starseeker I was aiming for the high quality visuals and 1 level which would be used as a demo/prototype but the thing is creating a cover system+shooting system+1 assassination move is very complex and difficult to accomplish and downright unrealistic for a newbie who barely knows how BP works, to me they’re a mystery to me.

I also don’t understand how to use the event graph in the anim graph for a character because i don’t know what values to use to switch to a different animation based on the transition rule, i know the state machines, they’re quite straightforward and make sense but the problem is that i don’t know what to do in the event graph to launch the transition rule that i made in the state machines.

The character BP is more understandable but i don’t know how to “snap” an actor to a surface with a press of a button and “unsnap” because i have no idea what function or action i would have to use since there is no reference for BP where there is a whole list of actions which explain what each action does in BP (If i am wrong about the BP reference, please correct me).

Also creating competent A.I which can shoot, hide and discover the player will be very difficult to make as well.

The dream game i am trying to achieve is out of my reach, i have to get a solid foundation and them move on to intermediate level and then i can attempt making my dream game prototype.

Lets just be honest…

Hello gamers who decided to pursue game developing,

After spending many hours reading through the forums and seeing these potential projects, comments, marketplace and links I was shocked at what I was seeing. I know many of you are looking to pursue the industry, and a few of you may be developing some really great projects, buts lets be honest 99% of these projects don’t even see the light of day. Game design is such a difficult project to accomplish that most projects don’t even make it past the recruitment phase. I know you may have the next best thing, or perhaps you have a good team of people, but do you have the business plan, business map, marketing plan, financing plan, or distribution plan…I would assume not. If game design was easy, everyone would do it, but let’s be honest its almost near impossible to produce a successful game.

Many of you come on here looking for work or to sell your products right? Well if you come here looking for a high paying job then you are sadly mistaking yourself. No one on here is going to have a a 20 million dollar budget to produce a successful game. If they did why the f#$k would they be hiring through forums? It may not sound as happy ending as you may be hoping, but to those of you coming here and pretending to be the most experienced developer here asking for an astronomical pay, why are you looking for work on forums? You should be out in the real world applying to major game production companies, cause that’s where your salary comes in, and that’s where you will truly see how good you are, cause if you are as good as you say you are, why aren’t you working for them? So if your looking for paid work, don’t be crazy and ask for a professionals salary, because you arent a professional. Or else you would be working for a major company. If your looking to gain experience work for free, even if it may suck to work for free after the amount of time you spent learning thats your only hope of making it anywhere. DONT TRY TO BE BIGGER THAN YOU ACTUALLY ARE!

Now if your looking to recruit, lets not get too carried away… You are probably sitting at a computer or laptop in your house, not in your game production office. So with that being said I would recommend you recruit like a normal person rather than a studio would recruit. Specially if it’s unpaid, you should be willing to take whoever post interest and not be picky! This is a forum, not criagslist or indeed. You arent hiring for a permanent salary job, so you don’t have much say in who you choose. Cause if you truly wanted to accomplish your project you would be taking anyone.

This is my favorite link I think I saw someone give as a response …

Ummmm this response was one of the cheapest most idiotic responses I’ve seen. Why the hell would you post a link to that? It’s links like that, which prove that a majority of the people on here don’t truly understand the indie world and the professional world. NO game on here is going to have a budget higher than 1 million dollars, so why waste your time to look like a fool? 99% of all projects on this forum are independent or indie games, so suck it up and stop making it sound like this is a professional recruitment forum, there’s no such thing.

This industry is a cut throat industry and many of you have a simple black and white vision, no matter what you say you can do it’s not enough to be successful. These forums are here to help give experience and meet new developers interested in joining the industry, so suck it up and face the fact that your just 1 of millions of people with the same passion. If you come on here cocky and conceited you will never make it, cause who want’s to work with a guy who thinks he “the ****”. Don’t kid yourself bud, we are all here for the same thing and your no different than the next fool who comes on here with impossible goals.

Many of you may not like to hear the truth, but lets be honest, the truth will set you free and as soon as you realize that the better off you’ll e and the odds of you being success will be much higher than you cocky developers.

Personal Experience: Worked for EA Games, IGN Network as a writer, Blizzard [Diablo,WOW], Bethesda Studios [Oblivion, Skyrim], Hiring Director for Atari, HR manager for Naughtydog