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Editorial Leon Boyarsky - Thoughts on RPG development

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Saint_Proverbius, Dec 3, 2002.

  1. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Jun 16, 2002
    Behind you.
    Tags: Leonard Boyarsky; Troika Games

    <b>Leon Boyarski</b>, <a href="">Troika Games</a>, offers up an editorial on CRPG development, and how making money is important. Also, why marketting people suck.
    <blockquote>When I sat down to write about RPG development, I went through the list of things I like to see in an RPG. Depth of characterization and plot. Reactivity of the world. Believable NPCs. Feeling like you?re playing a ?role?. Then I tried to decide which is the most important in RPG development ? and the answer is none of them.</blockquote>
    Ah, reality. Such a harsh mistress.
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
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  2. Rosh Erudite

    Oct 22, 2002
    Indeed, marketing people suck. Probably because they are responsible for the utter crap that are the recent releases lately, where creativity is quashed in lieu of how well you can try to chase a trend of someone else.

    Unfortunately, in "be like others", there is hardly a chance to set trends instead of follow them.
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  3. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Jun 16, 2002
    Behind you.
    Marketting people and trend bandwagonning are the main reason I play Spiderweb's CRPGs and Prelude to Darkness. I don't want to keep playing the same game, over and over again. I already have Diablo and Baldur's Gate, though I admit I truly hated Baldur's Gate to the point where I couldn't stand to play it more than a day or so.

    I'd much rather have something new than something recycled repeatedly.
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  4. HanoverF Arcane Patron

    Nov 23, 2002
    MCA Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Nothing succeeds like mediocrity.
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  5. Anonymous Guest

    It is really sad to see that money matters more than fun.
    I think that our society, in which nearly no one has the spare time to play time consuming games, is to blame. Our society tells us to work hard to be a part of society which doesn't leave room for spare time.
    So when you come home from a 10 hour day at work you want to play an easy game for a hour or two and you want to have the feeling to have accomplished something in this time.
    If you have quests in a game that take many hours to complete and you don't have time to complete one in a day, people get frustrated which brings to another point.
    I think that hard work makes people frustrated and they want to play action games in order for their frustration to go away.
    I think that games and movies have some things in common. People want to watch a movie or play a game for just a few hours a day and the game/movie has to have lots of action in it. The bad guys (= the bosses at work?) need to be beaten a lot and the normal person has to be the hero, at least for the time the movie/game lasts.
    The marketing people just have adapted to the situation.
    I myself would prefer a hardcore rpg that takes hundreds of hours to complete, but I don't think that this will happen again in the near future.
    Take a look at the German 3D-RPGs Gothic and Gothic 2. Those are some kind of action-rpgs. You can play them either the "action way" running around, solving everything with brute force in very little time or you can solve it the "rpg way" which takes cosiderably more time. The game is also very movie-like, as there are lots of things happening and dialogs are very "fact-orientend", people just say what is important.
    But still, there are lots of things to do for hardcore rpg-fans. You can forge your own weapons etc. there are many sidequests and lots of things to explore besides the main storyline.
    Deus Ex is another example for such a game.
    I think that this is the way rpgs can be successfull nowadays (maybe one day another Ultima 7 will take their place, who knows?) and the companies should slowly expand on these concepts to one day make true hardcore rpgs again.
    I think it doesn't work to bring hardcore rpgs to the market nowadays as they won't sell that well and would discredit the hardcore rpg genre even more.
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  6. Section8 Erudite

    Oct 23, 2002
    I'm inclined to agree with most of the sentiments expressed here. I actually enjoyed myself when creating a couple of mock pitches of hardcore RPGs and trying to completely conceal that fact. I think that publishers would be more receptive to "It's got the man in it!" than "It's a TB RPG aimed at hardcore RPers!"

    Sad but true.

    The way I see it working, pitch your marketing at those who will listen. Hardcore RPGers are more likely to make it their business to find out about the game and are probably not likely to buy any marketing scheme anyway. So concentrate the effort on everyone else. "This game has drugs, alcohol, gambling, violence and nudity. Hear that? NUDITY!!"
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  7. chrisbeddoes Erudite

    Oct 22, 2002
    RPG land
    What follows is my opinion only
    <i> When I sat down to write about RPG development,
    I went through the list of things I like to see in an RPG.
    Depth of characterization and plot. Reactivity of the world.
    Believable NPCs. Feeling like you're playing a 'role'.

    Yes yes yes !!!!

    <i> Then I tried to decide which is the most important in
    RPG development - and the answer is none of them.</i>


    <i>The hardest thing to accomplish when creating an RPG
    is to make an in-depth RPG that sells.
    Now I know all you purists out there think that what's
    important is the quality of the game and not how much it sells,
    but try finding a new contract when
    your last game sells less than 400,000 units.</i>

    :( :(

    The ultimate challenge for an RPG developer is to find
    some kind of hook that will convince the marketing dept
    at your prospective publisher that this really isn't a
    "hardcore RPG" they're going to have to sell, it's an
    action RPG! (My skin is already crawling.)
    So not only do you, as an RPG designer, have to
    create a compelling RPG (which is, in my opinion,
    one of the most difficult genres to do right) you
    also have to find a way to sell it as something else
    - or, at the very least, an RPG hybrid of some sort.
    But never state it's a hardcore RPG to the marketing
    people - it tends to give them seizures.

    <i>All of this would be a lot easier for us if all
    of you hardcore RPG players out there would r
    ecruit, oh, I don't know, say twenty five friends
    each to buy the latest, greatest RPG.,</i>

    Well i did go in 10 shops 2 weeks before it was released
    in Greece and asked when they were going to bring
    that latest greatest game .
    .And all i could do was buy 1 copy.
    I will explain later why i could not tell my friends.

    <i> And no pirating, dammit! I personally
    would like nothing better than to be able to
    make my in depth, hardcore, 100 hour Rpg
    that the fifty guys who post online would rave about,
    but I'm not fond of bankruptcy.
    So this is all your fault! (That was a joke).</i>

    If you want no pirating then please please release
    the English version at the same time all over the world .
    There is no question about it .
    When you finish the game it will leak .
    Cyber cafés all over Greece had the game the latest 1
    month after you have finished that .
    Friends that i could tell them to buy Arcanum already
    had Arcanum in their hard disk months before i legally bought it.
    They would have bought it if it had come out at the same time.
    Yes they knew it was a great game .
    But it came 3 months later. It was a disaster for me .
    They had the game . They played the game .
    Oh what a great game .I could go top cybecafes and see
    other people playing the game for months . It was torturing .
    And don’t blame piracy for it . Blame idiocy of certain individuals
    that are prone to seisures.People love your games .
    They do not love you . Could you wait 3 months for great sex ?
    And see all your friends having sex with that girl and you not ?
    That is how it feels like.

    What more can i say here .
    Release the English version at the same time all over the world.
    End of story .

    <i>Now, because I know how witty RPG fans are,
    I'll head you off at the pass and state that this is not
    me complaining about the sales on Arcanum,
    or blaming the ignorant masses for not appreciating/buying
    my game (as some other developers have done).</i>

    But they did appreciated your game .
    But you must understand this .
    If anybody of the fans tell his friends yes a great game
    oh the best game oh the coolest game do
    you really thing that they are going to wait 3 months for it ?
    Well hell no .
    That is why i could not tell my friends .
    Talk to them to the last minute ?
    No . Because these friends have other friends .
    And those other friends did obtained an illegal version
    of the game . And that version had no manual .
    Oh how cool is to play a rpg without manual
    .It sucks to play a rpg without manual .
    And of course their impression was that it sucked .
    And the friends of my friends told my friends that
    Arcanum was mediocre.
    Quote" Pity that Arcanum does not have called shots like Fallout "

    <i> I'll take the blame for the success/failure of Arcanum myself. </i>

    No . You should not .
    The marketing people that decided that the game
    should not be released for 3 months after it was ready
    are the one's responsible.
    They are to blame . Because they are out of touch with reality.
    They are like the kings of the old days that never go
    out of their palace and instead listen to they advisors only.
    The English version would have suffered 100 % piracy
    if it was released immediately .Instead it suffered 300 % piracy .
    Also the game got a bad reputation because the warez /
    pirates got / sold the game without the manual .
    Try to play an unknown deep rpg without the manual
    . It sucks . You do not know how to start .

    <i>On second thought, I'll take credit for the success part,
    and blame Anderson for the failure part
    (that would be Jason Anderson,
    artist/designer/scapegoat extraordinaire).

    I think that this is meant to be funny because
    the graphics were cool.
    With the low-end pc i originally had the graphics
    were the best my pc could display .

    <i> I'm making a more general argument here,
    about a hypothetical "great" RPG. Hell, let's get out
    of the realm of hypothetical and talk hard facts -
    I don't believe either of the Fallouts have sold over 500,000 units.
    I see people clamoring on the boards all the time for more "Fallouts"
    , but which do you think a publisher is more interested in,
    a Fallout (app 300,000 - 400,000 worldwide over its lifetime)
    or a Diablo 2 (1 million units in a week)?
    (Highly un-authoritative numbers, by the way).

    Diablo 2 . I bought a second had copy when i did not have internet .
    Then i played in a cyber café . I lost $ 400 playing there .

    I year later i bought 2 Diablo 2 and 2 Diablo lod .
    I wanted to play on battlenet on 2 pc .
    Diablo 2 success is because the game is the only online rpg
    ( or glorified chat service ) that does not have and will not have
    monthly fees . The fact that the game itself horribly sucks
    ( look at the "balance" of the game as an example )
    is totally insignificant

    <b><i> And to add insult to injury, the most difficult
    elements to add to a game (reactivity, in depth dialogs,
    multiple paths) are the things that define a
    great RPG (for me, at least).</i>
    I love those things .
    <i>Take out those time consuming, stressful-to-get-right elements from an RPG and it is easier to sell.</i>

    No . You are wrong here . What you need is a great manual /book/
    Distibute this book to kazaa in pdf form (leak it ) 1 month before the game ships .
    Make harsh and loud noises about how illegal is the download of this item and how much it is prohibited
    ( And write an article to slashdot like that " Oh the book was stolen it was such a big part of our game such a big part of our intelectual property oh we geek s are so hurt how we are going to live now ! please don't download this book from kazaa (make sure another mentions the filename) )
    Study slashdot style . Make sure that this article is posted.

    Make sure that your manual book is very well
    written by a pro full time writer and a pro full time illustrator and it is very fun to read with lots of images (reduce images later in print version) and that it is not a huge download.
    Make sure that the manual make it obvious that your game has these qualities

    a) A little sex
    b) Lot's of violence
    c) Make it plainly easy to see that the game is very easy to learn and play
    (Show that the interface is very simple)
    d) Make sure that you mention extensively how hard was it for you to make the game how much you suffered how time consuming it was and that you are not filthy rich like the majority of people assumes
    (This is very important because it will reduce the piracy rate)
    (ppl will go in great lentghs in order not to feel shamed)
    e) Make sure that you expose some the incredible story that your game has.
    f)Make sure that everybody understands at once that your game has these features in abundance : Reactivity, in depth dialogs, multiple paths . Advertise them in a fun way in your manual book
    g) In the first pages of your manual book advertise the fact that you ppl made the original fallouts

    Some probable numbers
    500000 ppl will download the manual 400000 ppl will read it if it is fun with lots of images 200000 MORE will buy your game

    Make warez work in your favor not against you .
    Make sure that even the warez people have the manual and enjoy their game in order to advertise it to their legit friends instead of saying that it sucked to all their legit friends.(<i>your publisher will not accept this even if it doubles sales</i>))
    Cheat and expect to be cheated .

    These things just happen if you are smart like perhaps the
    " alpha doom something" leak.


    <i>In other words, the things RPG fans clamor for are what
    keep RPGs from becoming best sellers.

    Faced with this reality, most people throw up their hands and
    just decide to go for the Diablo’s (which are easier to make

    than a hardcore RPG, by the way). But I'm stupid -
    I mean stubborn. My solution is to somehow take the hardcore
    RPG to the masses. But to do that,
    I believe the hardcore base needs to grow,
    because a game won't get a chance to break out to the mainstream
    if a publisher won't fund/publish it because they
    can't foresee it selling over 100,000 units.
    Publishers always look to the past for their numbers -
    if you're making a Fallout style game, expect Fallout
    style numbers. And they're not swayed by the passion
    the fans display on the boards, either.

    If we want to continue to see the style of Rpg we like (real ones), we're going to have to find a way to enlarge the core community.

    Well, not really "we" - I'm too busy trying to make Rpg that sell.</i>

    No . You need to be smart . Use your brain .
    Use filesharing in your benefit .
    Give freebies
    Make a great manual . Make sure that even the werez people get that great manual .

    To warez a game is bad . To warez a game and then tell their legitimate friends that they game sucked don't buy it because they didn't have the manual is doubly bad . Make sdure you release the game as soon as it is ready .
    Do not trust your publisher. They have different interests than you have.
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  8. Anonymous Guest

    Unfortunately, developers need a publisher, and... Well, publishers need developers too, but there are a lot more developers willing to sacrifice quality than publishers willing to sacrifice profits.
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  9. Anonymous Guest

    Piracy, etc

    Heh....Saint Proverbius also asked me if I thought the sales (or lack thereof) on Arcanum, and to some extent Fallout, were affected by piracy. I would have to say definitely, especially in the case of Arcanum.

    I think the worst day in the whole development cycle of Arcanum was when they told us they were holding the release because the translations weren't finished. And this was after months of pressuring us to make sure we'd ship on time or it would be "the end of the world". Oh, and they'd also already sent out the press copies. So it was a no brainer that it would be pirated, but no amount of screaming on my part could change Sierra's decision to hold it.

    Such is the pain of game development, I suppose.

    Oh, and the jab at Anderson was a joke, not a comment on the graphics (I was also one of the main artists on Arcanum as well as being a designer).

    Anyways, thanks for the comments, guys.

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  10. Section8 Erudite

    Oct 23, 2002
    I don't know if I'd want to go near a girl after watching all of my friends have sex with her. Or watch my friends have sex. I'm kind of repulsed even thinking about my friends having sex. At least you said "friends" and not something like "parents"
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  11. chrisbeddoes Erudite

    Oct 22, 2002
    RPG land
    QUOTE"So it was a no brainer that it would be pirated, but no amount of screaming on my part could change Sierra's decision to hold it. "QUOTE

    :cry: :cry: :cry:

    Thank you for clearing this issue .It seems now that my criticism was misdirected .
    But until you made your position clear i had to cry about it to you also(Troika) just as i cried to Sierra with the petition i had written at that time .

    I just hope that from now on you have more control with this issue for your next games.I hope that your new contract's give Troika veto power over such questionable decisions by the publisher.

    I really hope that a time will come when developers will not need publishers.
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  12. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Jun 16, 2002
    Behind you.
    Re: Piracy, etc

    Well, I've been saying for years now that Fallout was played and loved by a substantial amount more than the sales figures indicate. It's probably the best known CRPG that didn't sell well that's well known for positive reasons. The fact the Fallout community thrives to this day, even after two market dump titles stands as a testiment to it's favor.

    Also, Interplay can't post a poll on their official webpage with Fallout as an option without Fallout totally stomping out the other options.

    There's a plethora of things about Fallout 3 that would indicate that the game would sell well if it were done well and wasn't like Fallout 2 or Fallout Tactics where the bugs and generally crappiness stole the show.

    I can imagine. If you remember correctly, I wrote a rather nasty rant article the day news broke about the warez version being available and the delay still being on on I knew it wouldn't work, but basically everything I said in it ended up being on the money.

    Release Me Rant

    Hell, it was a no brainer that warez was going to put a huge dent in the profits given the circumstances.

    The graphics were on theme with old photographs, right?

    You know, you could register an account here, Leon. :)
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  13. Anonymous Guest

    has morrowind bucked the trend?

    I agree you need some kind of hook to sell hardcore RPGs. I hope Morrowind has shown that you can sell a game that has a lot of hardcore elements, by teaming it with a hook such as amazing graphics, which don't take away from the RPG experience.

    Other hooks are rather hard to get - like a D&D licence buys you quite a market, but restricts the game and probably costs a lot.

    Alternately develop a good reputation with publishers to the point you can say I'm Bioware, now publish my game :P I guess that's a little hard to actually achive though...
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  14. Anonymous Guest

    Another tip voor the developers:

    Like the other user said, let warez be used by u.
    What is warez? Think 90% of it is pure download from the net these days (and maybe 10% illegale made cd sales). What is the key word here ...


    Lets assume you offer the game so people can buy it online (in a iso format) & write it to a disk. Now suddently, that 300% loss you get becouse of localisation versions will be partly stoped, becouse people from europe, asie etc kan now download it, instait of needing to wait 3 month's to see the game in there country.

    Another advantage, price!
    A pressed game is going to cost more: cd, cover, manual, publisher his greedy little fingers that take out another 30%?, the shop keeper that gets heuu 40%? for there own etc ...

    A download version will be cheaper. So you can lower the price of the downloaded version. Lets say you make it 25% cheaper than the box version. (50$ / 4 = 12.5$ -> 50$ - 12.5 = 37.5$) ... Remember, your cutting out the publisher for the online sale's, and they eat up a lot. Yes, server bandwit will cost you also, but it will not be as expensive as the printed manuals + cd + box ...

    This way you cut the middleman/s away, that atleased will save you 50%... leaving room for the lower price (and more direct profit for you).
    When publishers dont want to learn, you need to teach them and they only understand 1 lang., the moment that they notice less money on there bank account, they will suddently become a lot more open minded, and those are not open minden, well, they will die out becouse of it ...

    Hell, some developers even release beta's of there product, to get user input. A person buy's the game a few month's before the release, and het can download beta's & give input to the developers in advance for the final version (this is anther exelend way to get more people in who dont have mutch paisients (like me ;) )).

    A few usefull tips ...
    Downloadable game's is the future, not shops / publishers ...
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  15. Section8 Erudite

    Oct 23, 2002
    That's still not an entirely acceptable solution. As soon as sombeody has that ISO, what's to stop them posting it on a Peer 2 Peer filesharing network? What security measures would you put in place to ensure people cannot download the game without payment?

    There aren't too many decent ways to protect against piracy. Personally I think the most effective way would be to purposely "leak" a pre-release version packed full of some nasty f*cking spyware, trojans, virii, or whatever other malicious data you can throw in. Build in a timer so it triggers a month or two after release and basically butt-f*ck the computer of anyone who pirated the game. I'm sure there's precendent for a lawsuit, but damned if there isn't plausible deniability too.
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  16. Anonymous Guest

    Arcanum was a bore

    I hate to say it, but it was dull. Who wants to walk into every house in town and go through all the draws?
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  17. Zed Codex Staff Patron

    Oct 21, 2002
    Codex USB, 2014
  18. Anonymous Guest

    what the hell is guest talking about?
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  19. Jinsai Novice

    Dec 4, 2002
    Simple solution: Charge more money

    I have an economics background and I design software products. And I'm a big fan of the games cited here.

    Why not just charge more?

    All of the hardcore RPG fans derive many hours of replay value from the great games (I am currently replaying Fallout2 for what is probably the 10th time).

    I'd be happy to pay $100, maybe more, for Fallout3...If I knew it was going to be made by the right people, FOR the right people.
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  20. Chadeo Liturgist

    Dec 4, 2002
    OR, USA
    This is a long post with some background information that you might care less about but I felt would add to my comments.

    I am an EE major who currently works as a Software Engineer at a Semiconductor company with a great desire to one day create a hard-core rpg. I was first exposed to RPGs with final fantasy and Dragon Warrior on the original NES, and then got into PnP d&d and from there I moved on to other things. I slowly grew rather bored with video game based RPG's due to a total lack of intelligence or story line (To this day I can not understand how someone who can create the mind blowing visuals of the final fantasy series can also create such a liner story line. I am convinced something must be lost in the translation)

    I had seen the reviews for Fallout, but I did not buy it because I had basically given up on ever playing an interesting computer based rpg. I did follow the development of the first BG game very closely though because I wanted to see how the d&d system would look in a modern game (the old "gold boxed" ssi games were fun, and I wanted to see a new version). I spent a fair amount of time in the official irc channel for it, and got to talk with one of the interplay web masters a lot. I had mentioned how I had thought about going into the video game industry, and he mentioned that there was a release party for Fallout 2 coming up and that it would be a opportunity to meet the people at Interplay and BIS. So I decided to go and talk to some actual game developers even though I had never played Fallout 1.

    I bought a copy of Fallout 2 at the party, and got a shirt signed by a bunch of the team (The programmers were great, they all were talking about how they felt like rock stars or something signing a shirt). I met a bunch of people, but as I had never played the games I was mainly just asking them questions about what life was like in the industry. I actually ended up getting a phone number to call and set up an interview for an internship (it was in q/a I believe, not exactly what I was looking for, but still a foot in the door). After finding out that my chances of being able to pick my project were next to nill, and hearing about entry level pay, and the prices of a house in the valley, I decided that I would put my dreams of making a video game on the back burner.

    When I got home though I installed Fallout 2 and played it literally non-stop until I beat it. My girlfriend (who is now my fiancee ;P) could not understand how I could play a video game all night, and so decided to try it out for herself. This is a girl who thinks video games are childish, silly, and mostly a waste of time. Yet Fallout 2 totally hooked her. I was amazed. She loved it.

    As soon as we were both done with Fallout 2, we got Fallout 1, and played it through non stop. We loved it as much, if not even more then Fallout 2.

    To this day there are only 4 video games my fiancee has played to the end. Fallout 1/2, Torment, and Arcanum. We tried the BG games, we tried the IWD games, we tried old Ultima games. Not a single one caught her interest. This caused me to think about why these games interested her, and yet no other games have. So we talked about it off and on.

    The key for her was the fact that those 4 games actually had an interesting and complex story. To her they had a point. A game like BG, or Diablo is dull and boring because it is no different in her mind than a game of pong. I have a feeling that there are a number of people out there who would feel the same way.

    Why then do story driven games not sell? I am convinced it is because of the "video game" label. So many people who would love a good story driven game never play them because they are video games. Video games in there mind are things for kids. They might buy "who wants to be a millionaire" or some card game pack, but they would never buy Fallout, or Arcanum.

    Heck even those of us who like video games are skeptical about story driven games. There are so many crappy games that try and claim they have a good story its sad. Heck even the name “rpg” game is goofy. My favorite games of all time have been RPGs, yet in general I hate most games that fall into that label. Thus even when a new game gets released (like back when Fallout was), even if a bunch of good reviews come out for it, I might not buy it.

    Perhaps one day video games will break out of their mold and be seen as being able to provide serious entertainment, but I do not see that happening anytime soon. No pure story based game will sell even close to the number of games as deer hunter, or Diablo, no matter how good your hook. The majority of the people who enjoy deer hunter would not enjoy a complex story. The people who would enjoy a complex story would not buy a video game.

    How could one create a successful (defined as you make an awesome game yet still have a job the next year) complex story driven game then? I see two methods. The first is to create them for the love of doing so, relying on an income source from some other game or source. It seems to me this is what Black Isle seems to do. They publish BG or IWD and then use the money to make Torment.

    The second is to count on only selling 400k copies. You budget for that target, and you keep your team, and your costs in line with that figure. Now I have no clue how realistic this is in the real world, but I still do not understand why this second option is not done more often.

    Why can't a 2-d rpg be done with a team of 10 people? If you sell 400k copies of a game, at 50$ each, with 50% of the cost going to the publisher, you still have 1mil left over. That’s 10 times the cost of a 10 person team with each person making 100k a year in a salary.

    Clearly, either the publisher takes a huge percentage of the sales (even though rationally I know you need a publisher, in my gut it really seems like such a huge waste) or these games cost way more to make then I expect.

    I don't know, it just seems like once you make one game that sells over 200k copies, you could use the same engine and just spend the next year working on a new story and quickly sell another 200k the next year using the same engine and tools to make it. During this time you have a small team working on a new engine, and you just repeat the process.

    Don't worry about some huge sales figure. Just sell your 200k games, make a bunch of rabid fans happy, earn a modest salary, and do something you love. Seems like everyone wins.

    Until video games lose their "childish" stigma, I never see a story based game breaking the 1mil mark.

    I know this was a bit rambley, and very long winded, but I hope it was at least interesting and/or thought provoking.


    P.S. I don't want to gush too much, but I wish I could personally thank everyone involved in Fallout 1/2, torment, and Arcanum. I loved them all, and they have brought me, and my fiancee many many hours of enjoyment.
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  21. Sharpei_Diem Liturgist

    Dec 4, 2002
    We're here

    A number of good points here, and in the article itself.

    On piracy: I've always been of the opinion that the actual impact of piracy isn't as large as the industry imagines. In my opinion, most of the people who pirate wouldn't/couldn't buy the game in the first place. I think also, piracy is a phase, as realization dawns on(and as they mature) most individuals start purchasing their games. I've known several people that this applied to and most have followed this trend; one that doesn't, doesn't buy games for some warped-ethical standard that I can't quite grasp: but he wouldn't buy ever buy games. If there was no way to pirate, he wouldn't own a pc.

    on Baldurs Gate: I enjoyed the game, both for what it was, but moreso for the exposure it gave to the rpg community. Before BG came along rpgs were pretty dead. Now that there has been some community created, hopefully a critical mass of support is present for future/better creations.

    on rpgs: as bad as you think the state of rpgs are, imagine trying to develop a strategy wargame, like genre phenom gary grigsby. This is a niche market in niche marketing and being interested in the genre, i feel sorry for it. The latest grigsby game was released solely through the publishers website, and I don't think has sold very well..

    on cost: I don't think raising prices will help profits, but lowering them sure might. The point made about manuals is a pretty valid one; I love a good manual and used to judge my purchasing decisions on the weight of a game package. I think a good balance here would be to release a manual-less version(with acrobat manual) for a cheaper price and a 'gold' package with a full manual.

    on torment: My personal favorite rpg, and quite possiby my favorite game ever. It's very unfortunate this remarkable game received so little press...

    that's about all, i think


    Seize the wrinkle dog!
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  22. Moontyger Novice

    Dec 5, 2002
    Houston, TX
    RPGs might also benefit from some research into why people do or do not buy a particular game. For example, when I first heard about Arcanum, I was very excited about the concept and interested in the game. Later, however, I heard that you could only half the races would have female characters. This sort of sexism in a game offends me, and I don't buy the lame excuses usually offered. Yes, women in general may not buy as many games as men (although I'm pretty sure I actually buy more games than my SO, and I have seen figures suggesting this assumption is false), but that certainly won't change until the industry stops making games that exclude them. Sexism in a game is the surest way to get me to refuse to buy it and to urge my friends to do the same. If I am really interested in the concept, I might pirate it or buy it a year or two after release, when it is available for cheap.

    Unsurprisingly, most women gamers I know favor the RPG genre. I am an especially big fan of it, especially hardcore RPGs such as Morrowind. However, far too often game developers slight their female customers by offering them fewer options and/or including sexist content. I mean, in Fallout 2, a female character was often urged towards prostitution as the easist route out of situations, which is hardly likely to appeal to most women. The only thing I know to do in such situations is vote with my dollars, refusing to buy a game with such elements, even if it would normally interest me.

    Just some thoughts one might consider when pondering how to design a good RPG that sells.
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  23. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Jun 16, 2002
    Behind you.
    I liked Fallout more as well, mainly because Fallout seemed to know what it was the whole time. Fallout 2 didn't seem to know what it was from area to area. Is it a Western theme(Redding), a Gangster theme(New Reno), is it a Sci-fi dystopia(Vault City), Kung fu movie(San Fran), etc.

    Fallout was consistant with itself through the whole thing. It's atmosphere wasn't disjointed from location to location.

    You should try Geneforge or Prelude to Darkness then. They're very hardcore and old school in nature.

    BTW, welcome to the forum at RPG Codex. You'll fit right in. :)

    The problem with that would be the publishers. If you got rid of publishers, a 400k sales figure would be fantastic. However, publishers offer a whole layer of beaucracy to the mixture. Of course, they also add in adverising, PR, getting the game on the racks, and so on.

    I do think times were better before publishers though, the C64 days were grand. Back then, there really weren't all the trends and genre motiffs there are now. It was wonderful.

    This is a foolish argument. People pirate because it's easy to do, and they're basically freeloaders.. However, they still want to play games, or they wouldn't spend all that money on their PCs to do so. After all, you still have to spend $200 to $400 on a 3D card that can push those games.

    Hell, I know a few people who warez a lot. It's hard to be on the internet and NOT know one or two. However, one of those guys always has a decked out system. He's always investing in his machine.

    Given cases like that, which I'd say are pretty common, it's hard to make the claim that if they didn't warez, they wouldn't have PCs. Like I said, the reason they do it is because it's easy, and they're freeloaders.

    Wargames have always been niche products. The problem is that it costs the same to develop a wargame as it does something more profitable. Publishers aren't interested in what sells, they're more interested in what sells well.

    The problem with that is that they end up making similar games, causing their markets to stagnate. There's a reason a lot of the big publishers are losing money now.

    Well, I hate to break this to you, but it's your choice if your character whores herself out. It's an option in the game, and it's based on reality. There are women who use sex as a bartering technique, either for money, advancement, and so on. It's a fact of life.

    It's a choice in the game, just like there are choices for male characters in Fallout 2 to donate sperm to Vault City. I personally wouldn't donate my sperm in real life, but that doesn't mean I don't want the option to play an amoral character who would do something like that. I also don't gamble in real life either, I don't care much for gambling, but I've played characters in Fallout and Fallout 2 that were high stakes gamblers. It's role playing, after all. Your character in the game doesn't have to have your sensibility, and I think that's a good thing, really.

    I also think it's rather odd that you mention your objection to having consensual sex for some gain within the game, yet you don't mention things like having the freedom to kill children, drug people up, bomb buildings, and so on. Any number of those things are fair more objectionable actions than just having sex with someone to knock $500 off the cost of something when you think about it.

    Personally, I'd rather have those options than to have no options forced on me because that usually means I'm stuck playing the sensibility of the designer of the area. There's too many games like that already.
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  24. Mistress Liturgist

    Oct 22, 2002
    I only recently got round to playing Fallout, but I love it, and I really wish I had played it earlier. I played Baldur's Gate when it first came out, and while I liked the feel of the game in a lot of respects, it just didn't have any interest value, there's no real thought process involved in playing the game and so no attraction to revisiting it at all. In Baldur's Gate II, the replay value for many people seems to be the romance options, which frankly, only serve to make me dislike the game more than anything.

    I enjoy games with interesting, complex, involved stories more than anything, but I also like to play a variety of things inbetween. I found that Icewind Dale was an enjoyable game, but it's certainly nothing special in terms of story or roleplaying - it's really just a lightweight adventure. There's nothing wrong with that, but it would be nice to see more games that push the boundaries and advance on the story aspect rather than just making it 3D with phat lewt and cleavage plate mail.

    To echo Saint's words - welcome to RPGCodex, and you should definitely try Prelude to Darkness out.

    Problem being with good reviews is the fact that games like Neverwinter Nights get showered with gold awards and hearty praise. The review here by Saint_Proverbius is the only honest and accurate one I've seen.

    I don't find that offensive at all, and nor do I see such elements of a game as a slight to female gamers. I don't want to be wrapped up in cotton wool, I don't want possible ideas and storylines ignored because they aren't all sunshine and roses. Women do prostitute themselves in a variety of ways in real life - why shouldn't that form a possible part of the story and experience in a game? I wouldn't be a whore in reality - but maybe I'd like to choose that route in a game situation.
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  25. DarkUnderlord Professional Throne Sitter

    Jun 18, 2002
    Try playing an RPG with a manual when the manual... (wait for it)
    I mean, what was up with that? Did someone at Troika leave that part out? Of all the dumb things that could've happened, someone left out the contents page. :roll:

    As I understand it, that was an art issue. Too much art made was making the game too big (file size way) so they stopped that. An interesting point to note is that they made a male version for every race, even the ones without females, but didn't have a female only race... IE: They chose males over females.

    I do agree with you that playing a female role always brings up the "whore yourself" option. I usually role my eyes because it's fairly typical and common place, I'm also jealous. How come male characters don't get so many similar options to whore themselves out, dammit? :D

    It is something I'd like to see change a little though.

    RE: Piracy: There's an interesting thing I found with... something from Macromedia I think? Whatever it was, it was a little art program that let you make fancy word effects. I'd nicked it off the net (I'm a lousy warezer when it comes to some things) and installed it. Went to "Help --> About" to put in the registration code and found that there was some machine code there. Basically, when I installed it, some number seemed to be generated that was based on my machine stats. That number determined my registration code.

    So, in other words, the only way to get the registration code was to send off my machine code to the company with my money, and get the registration code in return. In the end I gave up on the program and found a free one that let me do what I wanted. But it's something that I think could work. I mean, unless someone cracks the code and figures out what registration code is generated depending on your machine, then you're basically home free.

    Of course it means you'll have to handle a whole lot of e-mails with people registering which has other issues... I'm also curious as to what would happen if I registered and bought a new computer, then tried to install the program. I wondered if I'd need to pay for another registration code because my machine code was different, or whether they'd just send me another one for free, cause I've already paid. That raises issues with me installing it on a friends computer and getting the code for free for him too... But anyway, it's an idea I've seen.
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