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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Scars of War - Them Indie Developer Blues

Default Scars of War - Them Indie Developer Blues

December 9th, 2010, 23:52
In a new post at the Scars of War blog, Gareth writes about realising the scope is too large and bringing th project back under control. A good thing, in my opinion:
It really has become clear to me that Iíve been too ambitious with art content. The game sprawls across too many environments, too many locations, itís simply too much of a strain on my resources. If I had to start again Iíd set everything in a single city location.
For that reason, Iíve been doing something lately that is a bit painful, but necessary. Iíve taken the pruning sheers to SoW. What that entails is attempting to cut planned locations/environment types and shifting quests/plot to other locations (places where I already have much of the environment artwork needed). For example, the starting city location was supposed to be Korrinport, from there youíd be able to travel to Tyver, the capital city of Athar, or visit the town of Sarenbosch, home of Torvaire University. Now, those three locations have been folded into each other, the combination city being named Korrinport and housing Torvaire University within it. That location is where you start the game, itís also the primary game hub, and you will return to it many times throughout the game.
This change means reworking the main storyline, which was supposed to span locations in a number of nations (with different environment styles), to use the art I have. In certain cases this means dramatic changes to the plot and backstory to make that work. Some locations you were supposed to visit you may just hear about now, others have had to be nuked from the plot completely. Some of the information Iíve already shown you will be changing, Iím sorry about that. And Iím dropping multiple race selections, you can now only play as an Atharan, a fairly standard human type, in order to reduce the player avatar art burden.
More information.
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December 9th, 2010, 23:52
this is not good, I dont think this game will be seeing the light of day. Keeping my fingers crossed though.
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December 9th, 2010, 23:52
It's a painful, awful decision that I'm sure he's going to be very happy with. Eventually.

My expectations of the game seeing the light of day have almost doubled.
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December 9th, 2010, 23:58
Expectations are reservations for resentments . Why do you think it will come out more ? He is being more tangible with his goal.
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December 10th, 2010, 00:18
In my experience as a developer (both as a videogame developer and out in the rest of the industry), the tales of the biggest failures (both in first-hand and second-hand experiences) were when the producer / project manager refused to consider scope-cuts when things got hairy with the schedule. And things always got hairy.

One of the most successful projects I'd ever worked on, Twisted Metal, was aggressively scoped back from its initial design. We broke entire levels into three pieces to be played separately. Our producer's default response towards problems in the latter half of development was to nuke the problem feature. Then we'd have to figure out what would have to be done to keep it.

The game went on to sell LOTS, and became a franchise, so I can't say that approach hurt the game any. Plus, we managed to make it to release on time. A big deal with a launch title.

I think recognizing that your game is scoped too big is the sign of a mature developer. And a mature developer means greater likelihood of success, in my book.
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December 10th, 2010, 01:36
Thanks for your experience . I really hope i get to play this game ,tired of the big budget releases to much hype not enough gaming.
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December 10th, 2010, 01:40
Just to add my 2 cents; I would also like to point out that SoW does not follow the trend of most vaperware- with long periods of silence, followed by sparse info, followed by more long silence. Gareth has been quite consistent in keeping up with regular game development updates, and having tangible progress to display when he does. I have no doubt that he'll get there….eventually
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December 10th, 2010, 04:56
I really hope that once all of you have a first game out (Gareth, Vince, Coyote, etc.) the road will become less rocky. Watching the development of these games certainly helped me understand why Vogel has been using what seems like the same assets and game engine for a felt half century - it allows him to be productive in the first place.
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December 10th, 2010, 08:06
I'm trying desperately to figure out how to break this colossal effort down into some kind of repeatable process (I know, that sounds like a big AAA publisher's soulless approach, but it's really not). I'm really embarrassed about how I've consistently overshot. And the sad truth of the matter is that if Frayed Knights went and sold Minecraft numbers upon release, making me unholy piles of money, I'd STILL be worried about taking Rampant Games full-time, because as of right now I can't demonstrate (to myself) that anything we're doing is repeatable. Except missing internal deadlines.
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December 10th, 2010, 22:09
Im confused … are you working on Scars Of War ?
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December 10th, 2010, 22:41
Nope, we're just both in the same boat in many respects. I'm just comparing experiences in response to GhanBuriGhan's comment. Sorry to derail the thread.
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December 11th, 2010, 00:34
Originally Posted by RampantCoyote View Post
Sorry to derail the thread.
You didn't derail a thing. Your comments are always welcome.
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