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Oct/Nov/Dec-05: Development HEL
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imadoki



Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 24
Location: Canada



PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply to Fost Reply with quote

To Fost and everyone else at MoonPod:

I salute you guys. I guess I should have atleast devoted a little more then the original 3 days I devoted to promote my game, i.e. I just uploaded the game to some game sites like fileplanet, avault and then had a website... that's it. I should have put more effort in it.

Anyway, I guess, I'll still keep making games since it fulfills my creative urge.

Thanks for the reply and I apologize for asking a sensitive question like how much you guys make.

Anyway, I wish you guys the best!!!
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fartron



Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 11



PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I could make rent and still afford food off game making I would much more than happy. What sort of lifespan have you found that a game gets? Have the sales really trickled off lately?

Starscape got a lot of press, among indie gaming circles at least, and I can't imagine that every homebrewed outfit is going to find the success (though mild? or maybe you're being a little modest?) you guys have.

Is there anything you wish you'd known when you started out?
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Fost
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fartron wrote:
If I could make rent and still afford food off game making I would much more than happy.

Yes, our goal is purely to get into a position where we can make games without having to worry about money. First and foremost, that's what we want to do with our lives. However, we need to pursue the business side of things as a necessary evil - if we hadn't, then no more Moonpod games Sad Our future plan is to make the business more streamlined, so marketing time spent goes much further, and there's more time available to make games Smile

fartron wrote:
What sort of lifespan have you found that a game gets? Have the sales really trickled off lately?

Much longer than mainstream sales (which can be as little as 3 months.). Whilst there is an initial bubble of sales that happens round launch, sales do slow. However, there's lots of things you can do to keep them going - if you put zero effort into selling your game, then you'll get zero sales coming in pretty fast. Sales of Starscape at the moment are still pretty good, in fact, the holiday period was far better than the same period last year, simply because we put a lot of effort into marketing for December and November. That's not to say that they are great, but it illustrates how the market is completely different to mainstream.

fartron wrote:
Is there anything you wish you'd known when you started out?

Yeah, absolutely everything we know now! I'm really looking forward to the releases of Mr. Robot and War Angels, because we have so many ideas for marketing them, and there's so much we could do now with a new game. It's actually going to be fun putting that knowledge into practice. I suppose that was the number one hard truth to swallow - marketing can soak up 50% of your time quite easily.
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Doom III



Joined: 20 Apr 2004
Posts: 117



PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

just thought another thing about multiplayer>

what indie games are big for multiplayer?

i mean what has a big community>?

ony thing i can think is soldat mind you soldats free.

zap is multiplayer game but there is nobody playing when i try
same with all games at garage games> like that tank game where only bots are online
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imadoki



Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 24
Location: Canada



PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't need the MoonPod guys to answer with an affirmative, it would be nice if you guys did give some hints... anyway this is just a logical guess...

If some team where to make an excellent game like Starscape, and to survive, they would have to be selling atleast 250 to 300 units per month. So, maybe during Christmas and other such times, sales are around 500 to 1000 and in lean months around 100 to 150.

Would anyone like to elaborate on this... Wink

Change of topic...
I remember you guys working on a rather exciting strategy game that you sidelined to work on Mr. Robot. How long have you been working on Mr. Robot since deciding to shelf the strategy game? If I am not mistaken, 13 + months, right?

I really can't wait for Mr. Robot to come out. The dev dairies have me hooked. Infact, I am sure can speak for everyone here... just keep posting as many screenshots/photos as possible... just random shots of you working on Wings3D, or coding on C++, or test renderings, or test game play.

Just take a bunch of pictures everyday of where you guys work every day and just upload them to one of those pic sites and post the link.

It would be like living vicariously. Smile
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fartron



Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 11



PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
what indie games are big for multiplayer?


One of the biggest is probably Enemy Territory. It still ranks damn high on GSN Stats despite being older than almost everything else on the list.

I think a lot of games get by with dedicated fanbases, since trying to get the popularity of a AAA game title is a hell of a battle. There's still a signifigant VGA Planets crowd, and last I heard Laser Squad Nemesis was doing alright. They're both PBEM (play-by-email) though.

Quote:
I'm really looking forward to the releases of Mr. Robot and War Angels, because we have so many ideas for marketing them, and there's so much we could do now with a new game.


I'm looking forward to it too, for more than just wanting to play the games. I really hope you guys do well, and I want to watch it happen.
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Poo Bear
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 4121
Location: Sheffield, UK



PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Multiplayer indie games are an interesting point, both Enemy Territory and VGAPlanets are free aren't they? Laser Squad Nemesis just dropped its price and the team behind it are working on GameBoyAdvance stuff now, perhaps an indication the indie multiplayer game isn't something that can sustain them (maybe not).

The only thing that seems capable of generating an income for the indie developers I know of is the mmorpg genre. At one end of the scale the Eternal Lands author http://www.eternal-lands.com/ has said before in his journal that the game income just about exceeds his day job. The game is totally free, but you can buy certain items for real cash if you want. At the other end of the scale is Runescape which after 5 years of development (initially by just one guy) now brings in about $2million a month and employs about 50 people. Again the game is totally free, but certain parts of the world, some quests and certain items require a small subscription.

So it seems indie multiplayer games only work if there are huge incentives to the players i.e. free to play for a long time if not permanently and access to most features. I guess another reason mmorpgs seem to work because you can play with or without other people online at the same time. With a mmorpg you can give away a lot for free because people will play mmorpgs for months if not years so you have time to recoup some income slowly.

A normal multiplayer game wont have the same depth to keep pulling a player back again and again and usually you need other players online at the same time everytime. As a result you can't give as much away for free and need to ask for a payment sooner which creates a barrier to entry that reduces the number of players. In turn that reduces the likelihood anyone will be online when you are, creating a downward spiral.

So how do mainstream retail games get away with it (not the mmorpg ones)? Well they are backed by a multi-million $ advertising campaign to ensure they sell in the hundreds of thousands region. As a result it way way more likely others will be online when you are. Therefore you know the multiplayer aspect of the game has real value, at least for the initial 3-6 months while the game is actively selling. I think people are far more suspicious of the value of indie multiplayer and rightly so (shame).
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Hamish
Pod Developer
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Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 570
Location: Auckland, NZ



PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a reason indie MMO games are alot more successful that non-MMO multiplayer is because there weren't many mainstream MMO games until recently. If an indepedant developer is making a multiplayer shooter or RTS or what have you there's alot of big mainstream games to compete with. On the other hand most of the MMO games I've seen since the invention of the internet have been made by small studios or even single people.

War Angels was actually a multiplayer-only game for a period of time. I made some good progress and got it to a playable state where you could have small tactical battles with a few guns and grenades. I eventually decided single player was a safer bet though. I have been making progressive single player action games since I was about 8 and it would be wiser to make something tried and tested, considering I would be selling it for my livelihood.
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Fost
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fartron wrote:
One of the biggest is probably Enemy Territory.

I'd also argue that it's not an indie game, at least not by my definition, since (if I remember correctly) it was funded by Activision, and then when that fell through, ID funded it to completion and allowed it to be released for free. (Which was very nice of them).

I've experienced the same thing with Think-tanks and zap - never anyone online when I've tried to play. Maybe I should try late evening here ( when the US is awake Smile )

It's an interesting point - perhaps we should quantify the question:

"What multiplayer indie* games, that aren't free, have a big following?"

*for this, indie = couple of people working out of a house or similar Smile


Actually quite a depressing realisation if you have aspirations for making indie multiplayer games - at least of the more traditional death match variety. PErhaps there's some interesting ways round the issue.


Last edited by Fost on Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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Fost
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

imadoki wrote:
Would anyone like to elaborate on this... Wink

no Wink
Seriously though, it sounds like you are looking for someone to say 'can I make a living doing this'. In which case, just look at Steve Pavlina and Thomas Warfield for a resounding 'yes'. Remember though - it took them several years, and also remember that much of our development is funded by remortaging our houses, selling our families into slavery, robbing banks and having part time jobs as drug dealers.

imadoki wrote:
How long have you been working on Mr. Robot since deciding to shelf the strategy game? If I am not mistaken, 13 + months, right?

Crying or Very sad Gosh, is it realy that long. Yes, you are pretty much spot on there, although there is a lot of code in Mr. Robot from before even then - 3-4 months development work had been done on Mr. Robot at least a year earlier. (We tend to prototype lots of ideas as they come up, and some go furthe than others).
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Doom III



Joined: 20 Apr 2004
Posts: 117



PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hamish wrote:
War Angels was actually a multiplayer-only game for a period of time. I made some good progress and got it to a playable state where you could have small tactical battles with a few guns and grenades. I eventually decided single player was a safer bet though. I have been making progressive single player action games since I was about 8 and it would be wiser to make something tried and tested, considering I would be selling it for my livelihood.


shame there will be no multiplayer but i get why you took that route

i would defintely have played mutiplayer but maybe there was not enough of us for it to work and maybe web games arent know enough

somtheing like war angels mixed with enemy territory would rock though - i hope enough of us buy it to make you think it worth doing a multiplay addon Smile
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Hamish
Pod Developer
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Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 570
Location: Auckland, NZ



PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was alot like Enemy Territory actually, ET was a great inspiration. I don't think I should go on about it though, it's not a good idea to get people hyped for a game you're not gonna make.
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Flumpaphone



Joined: 18 Sep 2003
Posts: 86



PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hamish wrote:
I don't think I should go on about it though, it's not a good idea to get people hyped for a game you're not gonna make.


Too Late! I am excited a lot by that idea. Wish I could think of an indie game that had multiplayer and people actually playing it, but I think this thread may have hit on something because I cannot find a single one. Real shame - I'd love a top down soldat-ET. Smile

Any chance of cooperative play? I am not sure what anyone else thinks, but I love same screen multiplayer games. They seem to have died off since the advent of the internet though.

Do not worry - I am hyped enough about War Angels without needing to be excited about a multiplayer option that sin't coming. In particular, I am dying to hear about some of the things the introduction hinted at like the character battle abilities etc. I could be wrong, but I got the impression there was a bit more going on than just a shoot-em-up. That's what was attractive about Starscape for me - the arcade aspect of it hooked me, but the strategic elements made the game soemthing else.
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Hamish
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Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 570
Location: Auckland, NZ



PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a good chance of same screen co-op going in. Very easy to make compared to online multiplayer.

I'm not sure if the game will be as strategic as Starscape, initially I thought no but you've given me something to think about. There is a headquarters out-of-battle section and some sort of extra planning or R&D could be fitted in here.

You will be able to customise your character loadout, choosing and buying what weapons, items and upgrades you bring into battle. I can't really go into any more detail because the amount of strategic depth will really depend on how much time everything else takes to make, abilities and items are mainly in the planning stages right now.

I want to let people who don't care about strategy jump in, shoot stuff and win the game without any thought or planning, but people who like to think and like a challenge can turn up the games difficulty setting and tweak their loadout for maximum performance.
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fartron



Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 11



PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
it was funded by Activision, and then when that fell through, ID funded it to completion and allowed it to be released for free.


I'd forgotten that, so I guess ET isn't a good example. But since we're on the topic of shooters, I'd like to argue for QWTF and AQ2 and C:S as big examples of indie multiplayer. While the engines were made by massive companies, the gameplay and content of all those games were radically altered by mod teams of just a few people. And as for making money, cliffe and gooseman were raking in ~$40,000 a month just from pageviews on the counterstrike forum before they sold the whole package to Valve for a big wad of cash. Of course, not the norm by far, and at the height of the advertising bubble, but impressive anyway.
Engine modding like that isn't quite so different than what's going on over at GarageGames.

Quote:
both Enemy Territory and VGAPlanets are free aren't they?


VGA Planets is shareware, and (speaking of v3 only, never played 4) although most of the players use third-party clients in modern times, most of those clients at least marginally enforce the shareware limitations to help channel money to the developer.

Also, on the MMO front, Tale in the Desert is another example, and one that drew unprecedented critical praise, and attention from well outside the normal gaming circles.
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