Game Design Music and Art

Making a great top selling game is easy – warsong




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The hard part is getting people that are not lazy, untalented, or busy to make it. Some people think you need multi millions to make a top selling game but there are a lot of games that sold well that didn't take a big budget like some of Nintendo's recent games. I also don't understand why so many talented programmers waste there time there own personal hobbies of silly programming projects that go nowhere. I have done projects and the main programmers and main artists I deal with wants things there way. The only way for them to listen to advice is when they fall on there asses then they ask for help.

I'm sure some had some good idea before companies made it and did well. But as the saying goes "He who hesitates is lost". simple games like brain training games, wario warz, etc. Even big game companies make big mistakes, and sometimes they play it safe like EA does to make mainly sports for majority of people that aren't physical fit to run as far as they can throw which they know the market, or others how they don't take any risk and just copy another top selling game and take everything bad about it and don't understand what made it so good since all they want to make is a quick knock off. Making a game that does well isn't bad since some made it better than the original but making a bad variation will just hurt everyone.
Atari help make the game industry big but then it almost went bust until Nintendo got it and they also made the industry get destroyed until Sega revived it, and then Sony saved and then MS sine history repeats itself. But thatís the same with all companies since people do it for the money then for the product and the people. even Intel was going to come out with a dual core processor after 15 years but amd said they will make it (last year) and then and so Intel decided to make it (last year) despite they lied since they don't want technology to flourish. If only Intel was around we would be still having a Pentium 1 500mhz.

Itís all an ego thing since everyone thinks they have the top game or program. Well people putting effort in Linux do not get it no matter how much they say it is great, since no matter how great they might say it is there is obviously a factor that they do not understand since they don't understand why itís not the number one os. The same with video games how they are not flying off the shelf despite the majority of the US is Christian. Buying a product because itís Christian wonít help a game or program since statistics show that most don't and when people ignore what is going on the only thing they will have it more questions since they don't want the answers. As the saying goes that united people stand divided they fall.

Well I am not trying to be negative but realistic since most people will fail as studies have shown since most people feel they know it all. Be humble and listen to others.

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"The conversion of a savage to Christianity is the conversion of Christianity to savagery." Shaw "Hell is paved with good intentions, not with bad ones"
"Matthew 16:18 I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." "7 21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven"
:pI may be outnumbered but not out gunned.

jestermax

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Posts: 1064
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 06-21-2006
You're right Egos kill projects. And i just wanted to comment on the Atari comment: The game that is said to have killed the industry is E.T. i play it on my Atari emulator sometimes. Those cruel men in trench coats are always stealing my smarties

EDIT: i agree with the part of warsong's speech that i repeated, not necessarily the entire thing... just to clarify

[This message has been edited by jestermax (edited March 16, 2007).]




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First off if people have complains then talk it out first. I bet many misunderstand the points. Come on Jest was not afraid to reply.

Jest
ET lol Another thing is movies turned into games are something to avoid since they mostly try to ride the fame of the movie than to be an individual. Its all for a quick buck. Logically no one has a great game idea that is exactly like ET and then the movie comes out and they happily merge together. Lately they gotten slightly better but they are not as good as other games in the category. Some like xmen that have been around for so long you tend to have better games since some designers may have wanted to make an xmen game.
I donít like how there is a fan base for a game and companies stop the project, and other people that leave the company want to continue it with there own money and the company still says no and wipes clean all effort that was done for the game.
Or you have duke nukem still being made after 9 years and the game is not out yet.
Anyway what donít you agree with? lol

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"The conversion of a savage to Christianity is the conversion of Christianity to savagery." Shaw "Hell is paved with good intentions, not with bad ones"
"Matthew 16:18 I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." "7 21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven"
:pI may be outnumbered but not out gunned.

jestermax

Member

Posts: 1064
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 06-21-2006
It's not that i flat out disagree with everything you said but my comment before was only about that specific area.

Your opinions of game ideas seems a bit pessimistic at best. I don't fully agree or disagree with a lot of what you said but they ARE good points. There are many cases where people clone the "winning" game idea. But theres also a lot that only seem so; some games improve on an aspect of the gameplay. While those games may not do well on the market, i find myself appreciating these games even more then the latest and greatest. Hence my collection of ps2 games is about 114 now...
Anyways, sorry if it's a bit scattered/random, i'm working on an idea right now so most of my thought-power is going towards that

Brandon

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Posts: 594
From: Kansas City, Mo, USA
Registered: 02-02-2004
I kinda agree with that warsong. If you have a small group of people that are gifted in the art, hard working, and not busy with other things then you are definitely in good shape.

There are two things that are a problem though. The first one is pride, and not being submitted to God's will and to leadership. Another thing of course is MONEY. If we have full-time jobs, then it's hard to work 8 hours per day and then come home and spend another 5 in front of the computer... you'll see your life go by so fast. You'd just better be sure that it's God that's leading you to do that... cause you can't get that time back. I'm speaking from experience here. But anyways, I for the most part agree that it doesn't take millions of dollars for development. If you have a group of 5 gifted people who are working full time on a game, each at around 40k (US Dollars) in salary, then you're looking at a 200k annual salary for the entire team...

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They will know that we are Christians by our love.

[This message has been edited by brandon (edited March 16, 2007).]

dartsman

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Posts: 484
From: Queensland, Australia
Registered: 03-16-2006
But also, another side to the story. Are those games which where completely awesome, but didn't have the marketing and resources (ie, money) to get their game into the public view and for the public to actually get a chance to buy it.

You can see many current $10 games which were amazing, yet didn't have the marketing to get it into the public eye. And also, you can see a lot of $10 games which were just purely crap.

I do think that awesome games can be created by talented individuals and do not require the current AAA Title Budgets.

I wouldn't mind just releasing more freeware games personally :P Games Programming is my career now, and I'd love it to stay as a hobby as well, but time constraints do prevent me from doing my own little hobby projects which I'd like to get done.

On the whole, I agree with your comments, except for the following line...

quote:
I also don't understand why so many talented programmers waste there time there own personal hobbies of silly programming projects that go nowhere.

I don't know your experience in programming (if any), but it's those "silly programming projects that go nowhere" which shape a programmer to be able to get into a programming job (be that Software Engineer or Games Programmer). Without doing stupid crappy little projects and having tonnes and tonnes of failed projects, I don't see how anyone would expect that person to ever be a decent programmer.

Also, those "silly programming projects that go nowhere" are there to help us understand that we still have a long way to go, and a lot more to learn. It also keeps us grounded and normally lets us realize that we can work better/faster in a good team. Hence why I do agree with your first line:

quote:
The hard part is getting people that are not lazy, untalented, or busy to make it.

I wouldn't say that a top selling game is easy (even with the perfect team), more that it is achievable... A game is a difficult thing to make...

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www.auran.com

Calin

Member

Posts: 358
From: Moldova
Registered: 12-04-2006
quote:
Originally posted by warsong:
The hard part is getting people that are not lazy, untalented, or busy to make it. Some people think you need multi millions to make a top selling game but there are a lot of games that sold well that didn't take a big budget like some of Nintendo's recent games. I also don't understand why so many talented programmers waste there time there own personal hobbies of silly programming projects that go nowhere. I have done projects and the main programmers and main artists I deal with wants things there way. The only way for them to listen to advice is when they fall on there asses then they ask for help.

I'm sure some had some good idea before companies made it and did well. But as the saying goes "He who hesitates is lost". simple games like brain training games, wario warz, etc. Even big game companies make big mistakes, and sometimes they play it safe like EA does to make mainly sports for majority of people that aren't physical fit to run as far as they can throw which they know the market, or others how they don't take any risk and just copy another top selling game and take everything bad about it and don't understand what made it so good since all they want to make is a quick knock off. Making a game that does well isn't bad since some made it better than the original but making a bad variation will just hurt everyone.
Atari help make the game industry big but then it almost went bust until Nintendo got it and they also made the industry get destroyed until Sega revived it, and then Sony saved and then MS sine history repeats itself. But thatís the same with all companies since people do it for the money then for the product and the people. even Intel was going to come out with a dual core processor after 15 years but amd said they will make it (last year) and then and so Intel decided to make it (last year) despite they lied since they don't want technology to flourish. If only Intel was around we would be still having a Pentium 1 500mhz.

Itís all an ego thing since everyone thinks they have the top game or program. Well people putting effort in Linux do not get it no matter how much they say it is great, since no matter how great they might say it is there is obviously a factor that they do not understand since they don't understand why itís not the number one os. The same with video games how they are not flying off the shelf despite the majority of the US is Christian. Buying a product because itís Christian wonít help a game or program since statistics show that most don't and when people ignore what is going on the only thing they will have it more questions since they don't want the answers. As the saying goes that united people stand divided they fall.

Well I am not trying to be negative but realistic since most people will fail as studies have shown since most people feel they know it all. Be humble and listen to others.


First off warsong try to split your ideas into shorter sentences. It is pretty hard to follow what you're saying. For example this:

quote:

Even big game companies make big mistakes, and sometimes they play it safe like EA does to make mainly sports for majority of people that aren't physical fit to run as far as they can throw which they know the market, or others how they don't take any risk and just copy another top selling game and take everything bad about it and don't understand what made it so good since all they want to make is a quick knock off.

Secondly I'm having a hard time understanding what your point is. You have entitled your post 'Making a great top selling game is easy'
yet in the post you talk about how the competition benefits the gamedev industry.

I will have to disagree with your main point. Making top selling games requires experience and a lot of hard work. Everyone would make top selling games if it would be as you say. If you take all games produced only a small fraction of them can be considered 'top selling', most games sell enough to keep their authors going and many games don't even break even.




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Jest
Wow 114 : o Despite it being too much since I donít see that many good games on the ps2 system, I hope they gave you some ideas. But if you want ideas you can also check out game articles at gamasutra.com

Brandon
Yeah spending more time on something else that you donít want is bad, but if you like what you do then it benefits. I see so many programmers that say they donít have time after work and just do silly pointless thing and stay up all night at bars and get drunk at home they say. Or others that want to play a game for those 5 hours that go no where than use that effort in making something and getting experience as dartsman said. Maybe most programmers hate programming. As I said once the ancient Greek work for leisure time was to use free time to learn, while now leisure time is used to waste time.
One programmer quit programming since he wanted to play WOW after school up until he goes to bed which I didnít understand that, and he didnít have time to practice on his code or make anything which he could have. He started projects and got artists to make drawings and then he scraps it since he would rather play games. Itís very disappointing that they do that to themselves. Anyway even if people put down there game playing hobby and take more joy is trying to make a game part time as a hobby then they can do something, and some other projects do that. The best thing for a project like that to work is to organize, since so many are disorganized and there are more failed projects than finished ones.

Dartman
Try not to take things negative. Itís good to fool around with silly projects to get experience and I am all for it, but what I am not for is talented programmers that could get a job and could make a good game but they prefer to waste there time on projects for months that are pointless which no one will see. I have seen many programmers do that and they donít even bother giving the games off for free for other to play which many want to and they just scrap the entire thing code and all. Like one project I tested out which was a marble madness remake which they added new levels and the original levels with better resolution and it was pretty much completed but they stopped the project and didnít give it out. Sure the programmer got experience but still itís a shame that everyone else has to waste there time which they admit and they are upset about since the programmer threatens them not to give out.

I have been in projects where the programmer doesnít know what they want. I have seen many failed projects and its like standing on the side while a car crash happens. One project I give the guy simple advice to win a contest and he doesnít do it, and then the judges say the exact same thing I said why he fail. Another I give him art and he uses something worse for art and puts his own things that mess it up. Also some want to make very big projects that take over a year and they eventually loose interest as expected.

A lot of the programmerís just give up games after they see there game ideas didnít sell well. I checked out a guyís game before he sold it and I said it sucked and that he should do something else which I gave him some advice but he didnít listen. He got pissed and wanted to sell the game and a publisher and tried to sell it anyway. The publisher said it didnít sell at all and so the guy left programming and got some job outside of computers which is a shame that they want to do it all or nothing. Giving him advice was a waste. Another programmer was humble and says he doesnít know about art or design and he failed a competition to get money to make a game. I tried out his game and I said it was not good. I gave him an idea he got a friend to do the art sent it in and it won $90,000, and another 50 more for funding later on. Obviously not enough but better than nothing to help him.

Yeah a top selling game is not easy, but as Brandon says more money doesnít mean better game. I hear sometimes other people say nothing more can be made but there is a lot of original things could be made. Donít you think you have to target a specific market to sick out? If you game is really good then it will sell it is it just like the rest it will not. Some games that do sell well and are just as exciting as a crappy game are hyped up, or they use a lot of cheap tricks like a lot of violence, sex, or graphics. Selling a game on the Wii now would be a good way to stick out since you donít have a lot of competition, but if you sell it on pc only then you are flooded with so much more competition and its hard to stick out. Selling a game in Japan vs US is like day and night since they like different types of games like the brain training games which sold over 4 million on that small island there and only Ĺ a million in the US. As for Christian games no one cares for labels and you have to spoon feed those subliminal messages. If the brain game was called educational it would be avoided like the plague. What can you do that people are funny sometimes.


Calin
Yes I agree, I am not proper in presentation most of the times.

My main point is for people to be humble and listen to others advice which even if it is said to attack or said to help its still benefits the person to get the other side since if one person says it then so will more people. I try to watch out for people that are nice all the time since they say itís good no matter what you do. When I present the same thing to someone else they say itís not good, and I come back to the person that said itís good and they say that they were trying to be nice which being nice is worse than saying the truth when needed. Kind of like how some people especially a few in CCN how they donít want advice they want to be lied to and hear only good things and those people should avoid my posts than complain and start problems which I know who they are despite some others hide and talk behind my back as ungrateful Christians they are which I donít like that. Which is why I bait only people with less than proper morals sometimes that are rude, attack, and instigate to make them see that they are out of line.

Yes most games donít do well and loose money and most people that sell games donít listen what people want and what they will like. As some failed examples as I stated to dartsman. People want to be blown away with a game and not the same old whatever game. I bet you can honestly say why the top selling games sell well if they are high or low productions. People should not copy big budget games that sell well, but small budget games from big companies that sell well if they want to start.

[This message has been edited by warsong (edited March 17, 2007).]

Calin

Member

Posts: 358
From: Moldova
Registered: 12-04-2006
quote:
Originally posted by warsong:
I bet you can honestly say why the top selling games sell well if they are high or low productions. People should not copy big budget games that sell well, but small budget games from big companies that sell well if they want to start.

Are you trying to say low budget games sell well while big budget games don't? That's a very irrelevant factor in analyzing the problem. I agree a fat budget won't by default buy you an awesome game however the statement big budget == bad game can't be true. What really matters is the way you spend the budget.

bennythebear

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Posts: 1225
From: kentucky,usa
Registered: 12-13-2003
@dartsman
if failed/unfinished projects is what shapes a programmer, i'm on my way to greatness!

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proverbs 17:28
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

proverbs 25:7
open rebuke is better than secret love.

www.gfa.org - Gospel for Asia

www.persecution.com - Voice of the Martyrs

[This message has been edited by bennythebear (edited March 17, 2007).]




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No I am not saying that low budget sells and big budget doesnít. I am saying that even a small budget game can sell just as well. So you agree that you understand why good games sell well and become popular no matter what they have gone through?

For example Nintendoís Zelda is a big budget game and that sells well, and Nintendoís brain training games is a smaller budget with bad art, bad sound, faster to make, and not as hard to program as Zelda but it sells just as well or even better.
The more money spent the better chances but there are other ways around to sell a game. If the game is amazing then it will sell by word of mouth. If only a few love it and itís just as good as any other game it needs all the help it can get. As the saying goes a dime a dozen.

I bet that any decent programmer and artist if they work together here, has the ability to make a popular game without a lot of or any money. If people donít have the strength of money then they need the skill of design and time. Some may take it negative as always in what I say, but in other words most programmers have the ability to make something good, but need to see the target better.

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"The conversion of a savage to Christianity is the conversion of Christianity to savagery." Shaw "Hell is paved with good intentions, not with bad ones"
"Matthew 16:18 I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." "7 21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven"
:pI may be outnumbered but not out gunned.

bwoogie

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Posts: 380
From: kansas usa
Registered: 03-12-2005
I agree. It's not that you need money to make a great game... You just need people who work for free. or at least accept rain checks.

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~~~boogie woogie woogie~~~
Jesus didn't come to save the saints.

jestermax

Member

Posts: 1064
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 06-21-2006
i agree that skill > money. A team with great skill can come up with some amazing stuff if they're smart about it.
I think a lot of what we're discussing now though is just case scenarios and speculation. There is no "This way works" formula for success, especially with games. But for arguments sake, lets say there is. Lets say that the formula for success is a WW2 FPS like it was a number of years ago. If it's used too often then it becomes worthless and the market is flooded with WW2 FPS games.
Anyways, my point is that what makes games marketable and "good" changes with the times and people.
bwoogie

Member

Posts: 380
From: kansas usa
Registered: 03-12-2005
yeah. but when you say "changes with the people" who are the "people" the devs or the consumers? because, really, the people can only play what the devs make. but, yeah, what they like, other companies are gonna try and make their own version of it. look at any store shelf and its flooded with games with Tycoon on the end of the name. i've even seen a game called toothfairy tycoon, although i think its a online game - not in the stores.

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~~~boogie woogie woogie~~~
Jesus didn't come to save the saints.

jestermax

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Posts: 1064
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 06-21-2006
Both the developers and consumers impact each other. The consumers get whatever the developers make for them. but the developers try to make more of what sells the best. Medal of Honour: Allied Assault and Return to Castle Wolfenstein in my opinion started the whole WW2 FPS craze. They were HUGE sellers (i still play the wolfenstein MP demo ), so that would be my theory as to the reason why theres so many WW2 FPS clones. Some of them aren't too bad (i collect WW2 games here and there) but others are just something you'd make in your garage on a Pentium 386



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Bwoogie
Most people work for free and they donít know it. How do you think CCN is doing well from people working for free to post? I donít get why some people that are talented would rather have 2000 posts or play games than for free than do something constructive when they have the time. Kids have mostly more time than grownups since they donít need the money yet and many know that which they waste a lot of time on games. Over 6million wow players and they all waste there time. There are the followers and there are the innovators. A good chef doesnít eat his profits or would not most eat someone elseís cooking if they are good and neither should any Christian coder.

Itís the structure of society that that makes people this way. Even Socrates was a sculpture but he used his free time doe constructive things for free which is he is best known for.

There are many people that make these free applications that are better than commercial products. I am sure you can come up with a list of them. So Christians have no excuses they just need to get motivated and have a strategy. So maybe some people should come up with a plan than dispute. It just seems that no one cares enough.

I say things to help and if people don't like that then it's not my fault if they fail which most will, despite many do not want to believe it.

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Salvation comes from work not faith alone."faith without works is dead"James
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance" Mat
"have we not prophesied in thy name?... depart from me, ye that work iniquity."Mat
:pI may be outnumbered but not out gunned.

Matt Langley
Member

Posts: 247
From: Eugene, OR, USA
Registered: 08-31-2006
quote:
Making a great top selling game is easy

Before I respond, how do you define a "great top selling game".

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Matthew Langley
Lead Documentation Engineer
GarageGames

Xian_Lee

Member

Posts: 345
From:
Registered: 03-15-2006
quote:
Originally posted by warsong:
Bwoogie
There are many people that make these free applications that are better than commercial products. I am sure you can come up with a list of them. So Christians have no excuses they just need to get motivated and have a strategy. So maybe some people should come up with a plan than dispute. It just seems that no one cares enough.

I say things to help and if people don't like that then it's not my fault if they fail which most will, despite many do not want to believe it.


I think it's a little more than just being motivated. If it were as simple as you would have me believe to create a best selling game, then there wouldn't be so many horrendous games on the market. Don't get me wrong, I'm a proponent of the Christian's leading the market idea (I've written about it at some length on my blog - link available through the link in my signature), but it's not quite so simple to make it to top tier.

For what it's worth, I would discourage using phrases like "no one cares." I'm not a published developer yet, but there are many here who have some very good work (like David Lancaster, for example), and do all that they can with the resources they have to make a difference in the industry. Statements like "no one cares" seems reckless and a quick way to alienate yourself if not for grace. If nobody cared to make Christian games that make a difference in the lives of potential players, then I don't think this site would exist. I don't think the Christian Game Developer's Conference would exist. I don't think groups like Rebel Planet Creations, Graceworks Interactive, or Digital Praise would exist. But all these things do exist, and they exist out of the pocketbooks of those who do care. Very few people in Christian media turn a profit; most have to give out of their own earnings from their day jobs. When day jobs, family, and this little thing called sleep are all put together, there isn't a great deal of time and money leftover for hobby game development that can reach blockbuster status.

All the same, if there's one thing that I think Christians in any industry need to focus on, it's not trying to mimic the current trends. I don't mean to imply that being so radically different as to have an original product, but a product that nobody will care for. I just mean being ahead of the market instead of behind it. If Blizzard just put out Warcraft III, don't put out JesusCraft 3D.

I agree, a lot can be done for free, but, at the end of the day, everyone here still has a family to provide for, a job to do outside of programming here, or school to attend (which could lead to greater talent in the future).

The other problem with all of this is publishing. When you get right down to it, the shareware scene that made idSoftware so popular isn't as big of a deal any more (the shareware idea, that is; id Software is still huge). These days, you can sell things on your own, or through indie publishers, but they're not going to reach the popularity (in general) that a game sold by EA could. Money needs to appear to move the industry forward, and that probably won't come from the industry itself. The exception is if an amazing Christian game is produced and someone like EA picks it up.

I do think you're right that Christians have to be highly motivated if they want to make a difference in the industry, but there definitely are motivated Christians hard at work.

By the way, what would you recommend for a novice/intermediate programmer getting into the industry? Jump straight into trying to produce the World of Warcraft killer, or begin with things that have game developing fundamentals and algorithm development like the graphical roguelike random map generator I'm working on now?

For what it's worth, I agree that there is enough cumulative talent here to develop an amazing game, but it's not so simple as that for the reasons already mentioned.

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Portal with information on my programming projects and links to my other work