Goodbye BioWare, Hello Indie

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dcfedor:

Mayhemski:
Hi just been playing Neo Scavenger. Very cool once I got the basics, down, love the premise so far. Only 1 question any chance of getting a larger font at all? Guess playing all these games has done for my eyesight?

Cool, glad you're enjoying it so far!

Re: the font, I think it's possible. I may have to abandon the 800x600 resolution to accommodate a larger font, but the small res was mainly to fit the demo version on Flash portals. Since the Beta is exclusive to Blue Bottle Games, maybe I can just increase the resolution?

Lemme look into that. Can't hurt to try!

Chief, your game looks promising, going to play the demo when i get home from work. I was wondering if with the changes of late, would the old school BioWare staff want to move on to less mainstream games.
I'll try my best to follow what you create in the future

Probably the most depressing thing about all of this is that, in the cutthroat, streamlined, standardized industry that we've created, going Indie starts to have more risks than it's worth, and creativity is being stifled as all hell.

As games take budgets exceed millions, then tens of millions, it's somewhat understandable to see why big budget companies like Activision and EA are afraid of pursuing new IPs, when expanding on old ones or farming old ones (World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, etc.) tends to rake in more of a profit due to their name and familiarity with gamers than new titles (Catherine, Brutal Legend, etc.).

As that's gone on, people have just started genre farming, and that's also why we see so many cut-and-paste shooters, MMOs, and sometimes the occasional Action-RPG.

Probably the most depressing thing is that, as games get more and more expensive and time-consuming to make, and pose more of a financial risk to the company, this isn't going to end. Ever. Everyone can hope for a bright light at the end of a tunnel; a metaphorical Good End where the big boys can get their money and the developers can make whatever the hell they want, but as long as new IPs can't seem to gain support to land it up with a net profit, along with games having movie budgets and higher, it's not happening.

And no offense, but I'm starting to think that Indie games may also suffer this same fate, what with companies like Zynga showing great success with their methods. It really does look like innovation, originality, and simple, plain fun, died with the third-or-so year of the seventh generation and it isn't coming back any time soon.

Fantastic read. Kinda scary though as someone that's entering the job market and looking to join one of those big companies, albeit in a different industry.

Regardless, great article.

And the lesson is, don't be a games developer? What a horrible story this really is.

Oh and EA don't want a team of artists, they want peons to run their money printing machines.

Also, I think the biggest problem for me with Indie games is they usually have one niche, or maybe two. A guitar with two strings is not worth buying really.

dcfedor:

Tanakh:
Will be interesting to see what this guys can do in a non publisher game.

You need not wait much longer, NEO Scavenger just released yesterday!

http://bluebottlegames.com/main/node/2

I'm Dan Fedor, from the article, btw. Brook included the link in the article, but it might've gotten snipped out in the editing process by accident.

I'd love to hear what you guys think!

Oh this looks cool. Looks like it might suck up a bit of time at work today (I sit in an office, in front of a compute, dealing with clients in social housing- lots of downtime).

If I enjoy the demo, I'll definitely be willing to support the game, especially since I don't have a gaming PC but this can run on my Mac in browser. There's not enough good games that can, without me booting up parallels.

It's a trade-off. Larger companies can afford to pay their employees more, but you're a small cog in big machine. Someone at my office recently left to go to a bigger company. He'll be getting paid a lot more and he'll be working on much bigger projects, but he'll only be handling a small portion of those projects. It's not something I'd personally want to do, but money talks.

I think that the industry needs both the big corporations and the indy developers. The EA's out there are the ones creating the really big, grand-scale games with the ridiculous graphics (which most people love to play), but it's the indy developers who bring the needed creativity and change. Either way, good for these two for recognizing they were unhappy and doing something about it.

Lord_Gremlin:
This makes me think - what if game industry eventually collapse after all? I suppose the big problem here is that copyright laws don't protect the artist at all.
Seriously, it's outrageous how it's perfectly legal worldwide to claim ownership of something you didn't create. The original author should be the owner of IP. EA claims bloody ownership of any game it's employees create in their own free time?
And you, world, try to pass stuff like SOPA and ACTA? Really? First deal with real thieves of IP, aka companies like EA and Activision. You know, those are the pirates that actually hurt the authors, so to speak.
Seriously, claim ownership of something your employee create in his/her free time? That's entering slavery territory, no less.

Thats standard practice in just about every single field and its actually in a way government law. You are not allowed to create a business in your spare time that competes with your employer. EA saying they own any games you create on your spare time is actually the only way for you to legally create and sell games on your spare time. These laws are in place for very good reasons.

Played some more - loving it though hunting around for ketchup sachets is giving me bad flashbacks to being a student.

This could get quite addictive.

Also thanks for looking into a larger font size, understand why it is the size it is but would be cool to have a larger version available.

Anyways keep up the good work!

Captcha double post...

dcfedor:

Tanakh:
Will be interesting to see what this guys can do in a non publisher game.

You need not wait much longer, NEO Scavenger just released yesterday!

http://bluebottlegames.com/main/node/2

I'm Dan Fedor, from the article, btw. Brook included the link in the article, but it might've gotten snipped out in the editing process by accident.

I'd love to hear what you guys think!

Derp! Sorry about that, not sure what happened. It shall be fixed momentarily!

It was heavy handed corporate control that killed the video game industry in the 80's (well,that and over-saturation of the console market). It only survived because little companies that had old Atari programers made games for the arcades and/or computer (ironically, the first and foremost of these small companies was Activision).

I just look at the current climate of game development and think that we're going to go through the same thing really soon.

Das Boot:
These laws are in place for very good reasons.

I understand why it's a good idea for a company. I'm not clear on any reasons why it's a "good idea" period, for either employees or society as a whole. Business interests are, well, profit, and not necessarily in line with anything else.

Furthermore, extending such contracts beyond the period of employment should never be agreed to by anybody. A company wants you to agree to not get work appropriate to your skills and expertise if they don't want to employ you any longer? Why would anybody sign that, short of absolute desperation? (Answer: "overabundance of desperation")

Susurrus:
Is that a... is that a 2D isometric RPG?

*cannot download quick enough*

If by "that" you mean NEO Scavenger, then yes! I believe it qualifies as such!

Mr Ink 5000:
Chief, your game looks promising, going to play the demo when i get home from work. I was wondering if with the changes of late, would the old school BioWare staff want to move on to less mainstream games.
I'll try my best to follow what you create in the future

Glad you decided to check it out. Looking forward to your thoughts on it!

Zom-B:
Oh this looks cool. Looks like it might suck up a bit of time at work today (I sit in an office, in front of a compute, dealing with clients in social housing- lots of downtime).

If I enjoy the demo, I'll definitely be willing to support the game, especially since I don't have a gaming PC but this can run on my Mac in browser. There's not enough good games that can, without me booting up parallels.

I think I have a few of your posts at bluebottlegames.com to reply to, so I'll get on that asap. And welcome aboard!

And yeah, I thought Flash might be a nice way to go, as most web-enabled users can access it. No fussing with PC vs. Mac installers and such!

Mayhemski:
Played some more - loving it though hunting around for ketchup sachets is giving me bad flashbacks to being a student.

This could get quite addictive.

Also thanks for looking into a larger font size, understand why it is the size it is but would be cool to have a larger version available.

Anyways keep up the good work!

You should've seen the pile of ketchup packets on my desk when I was at BioWare. Saltine crackers too. I was the go-to dude for condiments at lunchtime :)

Susan Arendt:
Derp! Sorry about that, not sure what happened. It shall be fixed momentarily!

No sweat Susan, and much appreciated!

Why are all the worst things to happen to my favourite game properties eventually traced back to EA or Activision-Blizzard?

I go out of my way to avoid anything that has the EA logo on it. This isn't my usual hysterics, either; the whole company is corrupt, controlling and bland. They are personally choking the life out of the entire industry, and they are only getting bigger because their policies are working. People are buying the games they control.

It's sickening to watch companies I like getting flattened and people I know telling horror stories coming out of an EA-controlled company... and me not being able to do a thing.

I'm digging NEO Scavenger. Not sure why I was so hesitant to try it out. Glad I did! I've never been good at the point and click adventure games or the like, so perhaps that's why I'm failing at it so miserably. I do love the little bits of humor here and there. Not a huge fan of bandits armed with rifle butts right out of the gate. Don't get me wrong. Not saying it should be easier or that it needs hand holding. As a survivor of the 80s, the "here you are, now survive!" concept has always appealed to me. It may be a bit hard for a lot of people to pick up though.

Anyway... There's my little bit of input for now. Back to it! Must... live... longer

Pyrian:

Das Boot:
These laws are in place for very good reasons.

I understand why it's a good idea for a company. I'm not clear on any reasons why it's a "good idea" period, for either employees or society as a whole. Business interests are, well, profit, and not necessarily in line with anything else.

Furthermore, extending such contracts beyond the period of employment should never be agreed to by anybody. A company wants you to agree to not get work appropriate to your skills and expertise if they don't want to employ you any longer? Why would anybody sign that, short of absolute desperation? (Answer: "overabundance of desperation")

The very problem is business interests. By creating a game on your spare time you are now competing with the company you work for. The laws are in place to prevent that person from using underhanded tactics to gain an advantage. They dont want people stealing ideas, code, customers, etc from the company they work for. The government also felt that they did not need to create an exception for video game companies.

As for agreeing not to get work appropriate to your skills is generally only when you sell somebody a business and its for a set time period normally two or three years. That is so you dont turn around and open a new business doing the exact same thing and steal back all of your customers. Since big name developers are almost a brand name I could kind of see how it would work for them as well.

Basically in the end the laws are there to prevent people from using corrupt business practices and forcing them to stay a little more honest.

Adfest:
I'm digging NEO Scavenger. Not sure why I was so hesitant to try it out. Glad I did! I've never been good at the point and click adventure games or the like, so perhaps that's why I'm failing at it so miserably. I do love the little bits of humor here and there. Not a huge fan of bandits armed with rifle butts right out of the gate. Don't get me wrong. Not saying it should be easier or that it needs hand holding. As a survivor of the 80s, the "here you are, now survive!" concept has always appealed to me. It may be a bit hard for a lot of people to pick up though.

Anyway... There's my little bit of input for now. Back to it! Must... live... longer

So *you're* Adfest. I saw that username pop up in the logs and was like, "uh oh, have the ad spam bots found me?" :)

I'm glad you did as well! And it sounds like you're doing as well as most. Lots and lots of dying!

As a lot of folks are pointing out in the forums, maybe the problem is that I haven't created a manual yet. I'm convinced now that I should, just need to find the time to do it!

Glad you tried it out, and are enjoying it!

I wish these guys would be honest...

They heard about Notch making millions through indi development, and want some for themselves.

The problem with that, is these guys aren't necesserily cut out for indi development, at least in regard to the true roots of it. Notch made Minecraft, and to do that, you have to be fairly dedicated, but also multi-talented. He would have done the textures as he coded, added features that came to him while having a dump, he would have spent sleepless nights going through ideas. Professional developers can't all do that. Would you let Peter Molyneux do his own graphics... would you trust him to write your engine, considering it's probably been 20 years since he touched any code. There is a big difference between a homegrown, self-taught indi, and a professional who's decided indi is the way forward.

Frankly, I think they should leave indi's alone, and start small studios instead - not with 50 people, not 25, but with 5 or 6 people, something sustainable. How many artists do you need, how many musicians, how many coders - at the end of the day, indi's are used to having to do everything themselves, professional designers and developers are used to filling in a form when they need something - old school, homegrown, self taught indi's like Notch are built to last, these newly indipendant developers should stop expecting the world to fall at their feet. The industry was built by hobbyists, bedroom coders, and shareware coders, some of them are even going strong today, Jeff Minter for example - covered in Yak spit and smelling like a sweaty digestive biscuit... Gotta love old Jeff, he's an inspiration to all programmers.

Also, they need to stop going indi, then DEPENDING on things like Kickstarter, that's not indipendance, that's unilateral dependance on the fan base you might possibly have in future. These guys have to earn the fan base based on their next game, that they have to make without guaranteed funding or support, no pressure!

Frankly, anyone who wants to be an indipendant developer can, you don't have to work well with a team, have project management skills, hell - all you need is a PC and a desire to learn, no previous education required at all.

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