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Porting Mr Robot & Starcape on XBLA/XNA for the XBOX 360
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colinvella



Joined: 15 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:21 pm    Post subject: Porting Mr Robot & Starcape on XBLA/XNA for the XBOX 360 Reply with quote

I think that would be nice. There seems to be a market for these kind of games on the 360! The assets and game design is there.. it's a question of porting to a new code base and perhaps thinking of some nice achievements Smile
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Console manufacturers are too unpredictable, that is the problem with a closed platform. We talked to M$ a while ago about Starscape and they said they only wanted games that "pushed the console technically" and then we talked to Sony and they said they only want "exclusives". But it all seems to change every other month. The problem is if they change their mind after you've done 12months work on it. There are a number of "green light" proceses to go through where they can just shut you down if they don't like the direction something is going in, even if the game is finished.

I think online is a more exciting platform. Runs in a browser and is free to play with a mixture of micro-transactions and maybe a one off "become a veterran" fee or something. Do it in flash so it runs on any old rubbish computer. Just need to write a server and learn flash - eek! Although that does sound like fun.

p.s. we even prototyped some full-on Starscape Online ideas with NCSoft, but failed to get it past one of the many committees they use to assess (kill) projects. Trial by committee <shudder>.
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colinvella



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess that would apply for official XBLA development, but what about XNA? The review process is community-driven and there is literally no barrier to entry, other than learn .NET, the XNA framework and sign up for a premium XNA account.

A lot of the games are utter tosh, but some are quite good and both Starscape and Mr Robot would be a hit.

Here's a link with some of the better offerings.. one you probably know about - Ultratron from Puppygames.

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21673
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Konedima
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few XNA games have even been turned in to fully fledged XBLA games.

Out of curiousity, what about Nintendo? The Wii could easily support Starscape or Mr. Robot and I'd trust that you guys wouldn't add stupid waggle controls.
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icarus
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poo Bear wrote:

I think online is a more exciting platform. Runs in a browser and is free to play with a mixture of micro-transactions and maybe a one off "become a veterran" fee or something. Do it in flash so it runs on any old rubbish computer. Just need to write a server and learn flash - eek! Although that does sound like fun.


Quake live proves your right.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From my experience and talking to other indies this is what happens:

When a new console comes out there is an initial 12months after launch where the big publishers "dip their toe" with it and keep an eye on it to see how well it will do. Once they get a good feel for its success they decide how much of their budget to spend on making games for the console.

So the console manufacturers have to work very hard to get publishers signed up to make launch games, in fact they will pay a publisher for an exclusive or even just buy the developer outright.

The other thing they will do during this time of desperation is court indie developers. They didn't use to bother because of the costs of putting games on discs/carts, but now they have digital distribution it costs them almost nothing because their QA people have little to do. So a manufacturer needs a handful of big names for launch and then as many "filler" indie titles or retro conversions as he can get just so it looks like there is lots to play and the console is worth having.

A year after launch the manufacturer should have secured a steady stream of big name releases and his QA department will be fully booked testing them all. Now he couldn't care less about indie games, in fact they end up costing him because he has to schedule in testing time and indie games are far more likely to fail the QA tests and it could hold up a AAA game. So all of a sudden the indie gets a less rosey royalty deal, he has to pay for QA testing, he has to wait for a test slot, he has to meet a raised quality bar and agree to the fickle whims of a marketing department now no longer in a rush.

The synics view Wink Twisted Evil
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

colinvella wrote:
I guess that would apply for official XBLA development, but what about XNA? The review process is community-driven and there is literally no barrier to entry, other than learn .NET, the XNA framework and sign up for a premium XNA account.

A lot of the games are utter tosh, but some are quite good and both Starscape and Mr Robot would be a hit.

Here's a link with some of the better offerings.. one you probably know about - Ultratron from Puppygames.

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21673


I know PrinceC who made ultratron so I'll ask him about it, although I've heard other people complain that XNA games have an enforced low price and it's hard to make a decent profit.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Konedima wrote:
Out of curiousity, what about Nintendo? The Wii could easily support Starscape or Mr. Robot and I'd trust that you guys wouldn't add stupid waggle controls.


I've talked to Nintendo and funnily enough they said if the game doesn't have "stupid waggle controls" then it sells very poorly on WiiWare. I suppose the majority of Wii owners kind of expect to wave their wand around.
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colinvella



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poo Bear wrote:
although I've heard other people complain that XNA games have an enforced low price and it's hard to make a decent profit.


Price ranges, in MS points for XNA 3.1 games will be (quoting from http://www.gamespot.com/news/6214072.html) "400, 240, or 80 Microsoft points ($5, $3, $1, respectively)"

So yes, the profit is nothing to shout about. On the other hand, the conversion rate is a little better than typical PC indie games. I found some statistics dated March this year that indicate a CR of about 9% here: http://kotaku.com/5191458/xna-games-dont-sell-dont-make-money-%5Bupdate%5D. The article itself though does not paint a rosy picture. Still, I wonder if, given ready assets, an existing proven game design etc. whether it would be worth investing time in a code port.
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Konedima
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also worth noting: I don't think XNA games are available in all countries - I've never seen them available to my Australian Live account.
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Weeble
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poo Bear wrote:
I've talked to Nintendo and funnily enough they said if the game doesn't have "stupid waggle controls" then it sells very poorly on WiiWare. I suppose the majority of Wii owners kind of expect to wave their wand around.


Does anything sell well on WiiWare? It appears to have a similar ratio of good games to dross as boxed Wii games (i.e. pretty bad) but far fewer games available in total. I would love to buy more games on WiiWare, but there seems so little worth bothering with.

Currently I have:

  • The Homestar Runner games. Pretty good, but only really for fans of the website.
  • FFCC My Life as a King. Fun for a while, but doesn't really have enough for you to do to keep it interesting until you finish the plot. Strangely seems to expect you to replay it or keep grinding for a very long time solely in order to unlock better spells and abilities despite the fact that you never get to see them. Once you've built every building, playing the game seems a bit like managing a spreadsheet.
  • FFCC My Life as a Darklord. Good, though a bit on the hard side.
  • Whatever the Bomberman game is. Has the basic multiplayer Bomberman core, but a bit disappointing compared to all the old SNES Bombermans. (Bombermen?)

Hmmm. None of those have waggle controls. Mind you, the FFCC ones really could do with IR pointer control. Actually, lots of games I've played on the Wii have had awful joystick-controlled menus when they would have been much more pleasant with IR controls.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, wiiware does seem a bit of a half hearted attempt by Nintendo. The catalogue doesn't carry a lof of game information text, not many pictures, no video, no user ratings and no downloadable demo. Compared to XboxLive it's a bit of a travesty. Plus, it's all so hard to navigate and requires far too much effort on the part of the user.
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rincebrain



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DSiware sounds like an acceptable platform, then (presuming the DSi is technically capable of it) - the style of menu/gameplay separation in Mr. Robot would work nicely with two screens, I suspect.
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