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Development Info Scars of War - Things 'll Never Be The Same

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Jason, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. Jason chasing a bee

    Jason
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    Tags: Scars of War

    <p><a href="http://scarsofwargame.com/DevBlog/taking-the-plunge/" target="_blank">We won't get to play Scars of War, but our children or grandchildren might.</a></p>
    <blockquote>Scars of War development is going to be halted for an indefinite time period, at least one year, probably longer. In the next few months, once my business plan and the game spec has been finalized, I shall quit my job to work full time (or nearly full time, depending on whether a contracting gig comes through) on a smaller, 6-month project. Not an RPG, a battling-card game in the same genre as Magic : The Gathering and Spectromancer. The aim is to finish it within 6 months, but with allowances for up to 1 year dev time. Toward the end of that period I will evaluate whether I can keep going full time or need to search for other work (contractual or full time), as I will be near to exhausting my savings. Should the game be finished and making money, I will begin working on expansions (more cards/opponents/mechanics/scenarios) as well as porting to new platforms (made easier by the fact that the game will be dev&rsquo;d on the Unity3D game engine) to expand my income stream. Should I have failed to finish but be near completion, or not making much money, I will look for contract work to help tide me over during that last stretch. Should I have completely failed&hellip;well, I will have given it my best shot. At least I can look back and know that I tried.<br /><br />Scars of War development will resume when my business is stable enough that I feel I can get to the finish line without running out of money. That will probably be achieved in small steps, by building smaller games with sub-sets of the assets or functionality I wanted for SoW, that can then be built upon to reach the full product. For example, a dungeon crawler/arena fighter would allow me to build up the combat system (one of the parts of SoW that needs the most work currently) as its own game and then use that for a more complete RPG.</blockquote>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
     
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  2. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Azrael the cat
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    Reads: [Guys I know that you're a bunch of angry conservative bastards who would baulk at giving charity to a blind and crippled Buck Rogers if he just returned from saving the goddamn universe, so I'm going to have to prep you for this charity call early. In a year from now, I'm going to be broke. Really broke. Please think about sending me some money for food in about 12 months.]
     
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  3. MasterSmithFandango Arcane

    MasterSmithFandango
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    Wow. Who could have seen this coming?
     
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  4. MasterSmithFandango Arcane

    MasterSmithFandango
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    Wow. Who could have seen this coming?
     
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  5. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Don't call Abigail Patron

    MicoSelva
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  6. someone else Arcane Patron

    someone else
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    I was hoping to play this game. :( Now I'll drink myself silly with nuka-cola.
     
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  7. bhlaab Arbiter

    bhlaab
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    god damn it i really wanted to play this one
     
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  8. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    From no progress to... no progress.
     
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  9. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Why are you complaining about no progress?

    First he realises that he's going to need a lot of artwork, now he understood that one needs a steady and sufficient stream of money for a living. Sounds like he's making progress to me.
     
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  10. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    It is not a complaint, but stating a fact. This never was a project which I expected to be finished (after following it for years).
     
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  11. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Azrael the cat
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    Sadly, I think these kind of interruptions are part of the ugly flipside of anti-casual angst. I loathe the idea of potential AAA companies making zillions out of farmville, occupying funding that could go to better products, but a good 75% (at an uneducated guesstimate, but I'll state it confidently so it looks plausible :smug: ) of those games are indie or early-career developers playing around as single programmers. It's actually probably a good thing for wannabe indie developers to spend a few years working on those kind of projects - something that they can actually complete as a commercial product, rather than a pure hobby project like roguelikes (where there is no commercial intent at all), or a grandiose game in one of the most demanding genres possible, the rpg, that they simply can't complete.

    If anything, what pisses me off the most about stuff like Farmville is that it is essentially exploiting what was traditionally a section of the market that was left open for indie developers to cut their teeth at making a project to deadlines and within cost limits, and with an intent to sell (hence having to consider marketability and content delivery). I've been as bad as most folks here in taking the 'fuck off farmville clone' attitude to folks who rock up with ideas for a basic but sellable 'casual' product (casual in terms of cost and scale, not in terms of depth of gameplay - the best of those games, even going back to old card games like solitaire, were those that are difficult to actually get good at, even if they are simple on easy settings. Given the frequency with which indie developers who actually try to make a good crpg first up end up producing nothing at all (and getting disheartened and leaving game development altogether, or turning ultra-conservative in their game-making having ditched all plans of building towards a greater product), I think there's a lot of sense to start making card-games and facebook games as the first commercial products for a developer. Just to bridge that gap between mod-making, without a care for budgets or profitability, and tackling the kind of immense project management required for a proper crpg.
     
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  12. Jedi_Learner Liturgist

    Jedi_Learner
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    [​IMG]
     
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  13. thesheeep Arcane Patron

    thesheeep
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  14. Andhaira Arcane

    Andhaira
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    Sad news, but I wish Naked Ninja all the best in whatever caree2r endeavour he chooses to go into.

    I hope your card game is a resounding success NN.
     
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  15. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    It's hard to get enthusiasm for indie games when you know completion and release is the exception, not the norm.

    Goodbye, SOW. We hardly knew thee.
     
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  16. DarkUnderlord Professional Throne Sitter

    DarkUnderlord
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    Bad idea. Better option is to scale back the core elements you need in Scars of War to a version 0.1 - IE: Maybe just the combat system. Then release and improve as you go.

    I think Brian Fargo had the same idea with inXile.

    I mean, Jeff Vogel didn't have to do that, did he? Why not spend the year on Scars of War and get that out the door in some fashion or another?
     
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  17. Naked Ninja Arbiter

    Naked Ninja
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    Thanks guys.

    That's one of the ideas I had, and it has worked for other games before, look at M&B. But it's a big gamble, you basically bet everything on the fact that one sub-system is enjoyable enough that people pay to support you while you develop the a full game around it. We all tend to remember the exceptional cases where that has worked, Minecraft and M&B, but they are possibly the exceptions rather than the rules.

    That's probably how I will do it once I have the card game under my belt and helping buffer my income. Kinda create a game around a subset of the RPG rules, release, then do another, until I stitch them all together into the uber RPG ;)

    Combat system is one idea for a smaller focus, another idea was for a 'dinner party murder' social RPG, where it's all about dialogue, character personalities and motivations in a single location. Purely focused on social stats and dialogue.

    Vogel wrote his game while at Uni. Students have a lot of free time and financial support. And if you fail, well, you're still at Uni, earning that degree, so what? You're not going to be out on the street.

    I'd rather gamble that people will buy a small but finished and fun game than that they'd like an incomplete game enough to give me money to finish it. It's not that I don't think it can succeed, it's that I think it's a bigger gamble to go that route.
     
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  18. Phelot Arcane

    Phelot
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    Good luck Naked Ninja :salute:
     
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  19. obediah Erudite

    obediah
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    I hope you find all the wealth deserved for delivering another expansion-factory magic clone unto the world.
     
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  20. Achilles Arcane

    Achilles
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    His plan seems solid enough, I wish him well on his endeavors.
     
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  21. bhlaab Arbiter

    bhlaab
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    it cant possibly be

    a card game requires popularity to even be functional. wheres the audience going to come from?
     
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  22. PorkaMorka Arcane

    PorkaMorka
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    I didn't follow this too closely, but I can't say I'm surprised. 3d open world RPG seems to be far too ambitious for a tiny/part time development team.

    Seems as though all the successful indie RPGs so far have avoided getting too ambitious.
     
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  23. thesheeep Arcane Patron

    thesheeep
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    Where did the audience for MTG come from?
    Where did the audience for Yugioh come from?
    Where ....
    There is always an audience, the question is if you can reach it :)

    But that said, I too doubt that a card game nowadays can be a huge success. But who knows ;)
     
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  24. Naked Ninja Arbiter

    Naked Ninja
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    I didn't hate Unity, as a programmer I found it incredibly frustrating that I couldn't debug it using MonoDevelop. Using console logs is primitive bullshit. Latest update to Unity fixed that, debugging works fine now.

    Unity is well supported, the asset store is a tremendous asset that continues to grow and Unity games are easy to port to other platforms. If the card game works then a mobile version is an obvious next step.

    Torque is cool but doesn't have the 'build once, release on many platforms' thing down. Plus GG has suffered a series of mishaps. If you look on their site they are advertising positions for like half their team, they lost a good many people in the recent transition. I think they will recover, eventually, but I think their momentum has taken a hit.

    Not an expansion factory magic clone. Marketing model isn't the continuous expansion pack thing that Magic does. It's more like a board game. You buy the game, you get the cards. There may be an expansion or two, but in the same sense that normal strategy games get expansions, not an endless stream of cards you have to keep paying for to keep up with the Joneses.

    Check out Spectromancer. It is my main inspiration, not magic. Similarly not based on continuous expansion, a solid, fun game. No prior audience. Did well enough to generate an expansion pack.

    Remember, I'm not trying to create a huge cash cow like Magic or Yugioh. I just want a small, solid indie title, something to appeal to fans of board games and card games that can earn me enough to keep me going till the next game. It's not going to be as much of a board game, but Armaggedon Empires is a better comparison.

    If I sell the game for $10, get to keep $7 after transaction fees, I can probably survive for a year (eating noodles) if I sell 3k copies. 3k isn't a small number, but it isn't huge either. Especially if I can get onto Steam or the mobile platforms. And that is one year of full time development, completely funded by 3k sales. I would probably re-invest some of that money, get an expansion out in a fraction of the time and cost (Biggest expense for a card game is card art + my time programming), sell for possibly another $10. It's quite possible to imagine me working on a SoW (or a smaller RPG) while also getting out a card game expansion.

    I'm hope I'm not giving the idea that I am purely motivated by money here, I really do enjoy card games. I'm just saying that a card game has a great potential return on investment, even without Magic's expansion churning. :)
     
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