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Default EA - Pandemic Closed, Van Caneghem Joins

November 18th, 2009, 21:49
Just learning the mechanics of using a particular tool can be a HUGE time sink.
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November 18th, 2009, 22:30
You can have all the best tools in the world; generating all the assets for a decent RPG is a shitload of work. There's no getting around the fact that AAA developers throw thousands and thousands of man-hours into the art, regardless of the quality of the tools.

There are outliers but the asset creation means attractive but deep indie RPGs will always been rare. Avernum is a good example, in that few other games have the sheer depth of content. Sins of a Solar Empire doesn't prove much in regards to RPGs, because assets are re-used more often.

There is room in the middle (Drakensang) but you need someone with a couple of million that doesn't require a big return. That will always be somewhat limited.

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November 18th, 2009, 22:57
When I was talking about games before the heavy cost increase I was talking about late 80's to early 90's and the mid-90's is when the costs increased dramatically. I can't remember what they cost to make but the Ultima 7 games look far better then Avernum and even some of the Gold Box games look better then Avernum.

Most of the games being developed by the Torque engine (and other cheap or free graphics engines) haven't been released yet. (I know some non-rpgs are but I only play crpgs) The ones I have seen in development are really good looking and look like they are going to be really good games. (Age of Decadence, Scars of War, Cyclopean, and others I can't remember currently) There have been other games that were being done by indie developers that looked really good but the teams ended up falling apart for one reason or another. An example is the team that was working on a remake of Ultima 1 that ended up falling apart because they were being threatened by EA and quit making it to avoid a lawsuit.

PS. I think if someone made a company that does marketing for low budget products I think that indie games would become a threat to the corporations making AAA games.

PPS. I think indie games are in a transition period because switching from 2d to 3d takes a lot of work and the transition can be difficult. (same thing happened with mainstream gaming) A way that indie developers have an advantage in the art assets department is that they could use far more free assets where large corporations can't do that. (most free assets use GPL) Also another advantage is that indie developers could work together to exchange resources to lessen the strain of making all of the assets themselves.
Last edited by guenthar; November 18th, 2009 at 23:10.
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November 18th, 2009, 23:24
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
A small team like the ones working on Drakensang, King's Bounty and the Eschalon games don't need this.
Huh ? Are you talking the same companies than I do ?

Radon Labs of Drakensang is imho definitively middle-tier … They DO need to make profits out of Drakensang - or otherwise they'll just perish. Seriously. Same with Larian. CDV cut their budget, and they were simply forced to publish Divinity 1 … for simple survival !

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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November 19th, 2009, 09:50
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
When I was talking about games before the heavy cost increase I was talking about late 80's to early 90's and the mid-90's is when the costs increased dramatically. I can't remember what they cost to make but the Ultima 7 games look far better then Avernum and even some of the Gold Box games look better then Avernum.
Boy, do I disagree. Avernum (1), sure. That's almost a decade old. Avernum 5 and 6 definitely look better.

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November 19th, 2009, 14:42
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Huh ? Are you talking the same companies than I do ?

Radon Labs of Drakensang is imho definitively middle-tier They DO need to make profits out of Drakensang - or otherwise they'll just perish. Seriously. Same with Larian. CDV cut their budget, and they were simply forced to publish Divinity 1 for simple survival !
Yes, I am

However, I did not know that Radon Labs was a company? I just thought it was a bunch of guys making this game - because they wanted to do so and because they'd thought it'd be a fun thing to do. They need to earn money, no question about that. However, I don't think? they need to earn as much money as EA does pr. unit sold, because their costs are lower. 2,5 million Euros, I believe, for making the whole game, whereas EA spends like 10-20 times that money to make a game like DA: Origins.

As for engines, I know that some adventure game developers use the Wintermute Engine, which is also free to use. Games like 'operation wintersun' and others have been made with this engine; and to me, at least, they look ok visually.

The point about well managed companies till stands, though.

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November 19th, 2009, 15:23
Radon Labs has ca. 100 employees and enough space for another 50. Their bread and butter is low budget contract work (aka horse games for little girls). They always have a couple of these in the works. The positive effects are stable technology on multiple platforms, no licensing costs for it because they own it, and a very efficient production pipeline. I got a tour through their studio near Alexanderplatz in Berlin earlier this month. Three things they do differently than most Euro studios seems to be a very short pre-production phase, internal testing from day 1 and extreme pragmatism.
Drakensang is certainly in the green with 450k and counting, at a rather low budget (ca. 2.5M EUR I think).
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November 19th, 2009, 20:39
My hat off to Radon Labs for Drakensang being a VERY solid game with hardly any bugs I can think of (although the translations were at times a bit wonky, but that added character ) The manual was lacking, too.

It is worth far more that than $5 I paid on Direct2Drive.
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