Cliffski versus Epic

A post to Cliffski’s Blog has a reaction from Positech Games CEO Cliff Harris to an incident at the Develop conference where he says a panel discussion on "microstudios" like his one-man shop was heckled by Epic's Mark Rein, who made derisive comments after Cliffski cited one-on-one communications with customers as an advantage of being a small indie. This prompts Harris to call Rein a "jerk," and offer some criticisms of Epic's approach to the industry (concluding by telling them to "f**k off"). He explains why this got his goat so badly: "The only reason I’m moved to give a damn enough to state my opinion, is that I resent having some triple-a studio jerk come and tell someone whose run a microstudio for thirteen years that he is doing it all wrong. If Mark from introversion [sic] suggests I’m doing it wrong, thats [sic] cool, he does what I do, and has some serious experience, ditto anyone on that panel, or anyone with long indie experience."
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35.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 17, 2010, 16:28
35.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 17, 2010, 16:28
Jul 17, 2010, 16:28
 
Valve and Epic both fund their games.

I'm pretty sure Microsoft funded Gears of War 1 & 2 and EA is funding Bulletstorm. In addition, Epic makes a lot of money from licensing its engine. Most indie devs don't license their engines.

As for Valve, they don't really need publisher funding because they get a constant revenue stream from Steam. Again, that's not something other indie devs have.
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34.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 17, 2010, 13:37
34.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 17, 2010, 13:37
Jul 17, 2010, 13:37
 
So, you are saying that the Cliffski guy and Valve are on the same level as indie developers? I think there's a slight difference there. There's more to being labeled a indie developer than just where the money comes from. It's always been this way and nothing has changed. Once Epic and Valve were indeed "indie developers", they no longer are such. You can say they can be independent of publishers but that's quite different than being considered an indie developer.

But, I posted to Cliffski's blog about Epic in that I met many of these guys during their Unreal Engine 1/2 days and they were not like this. I liked them and enjoyed meeting them. But these days most of the public ones just act like egocentric jerks and continue to do their best to expand that reaction amongst the masses. How many times have we seen Rein do this kind of thing to the benefit of no one?
33.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 17, 2010, 12:14
33.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 17, 2010, 12:14
Jul 17, 2010, 12:14
 
Valve and Epic both fund their games.
This is why they're so powerful. Why Bungie will likely be this powerful after that billion game contract. Why Respawn may end up this powerful. Why id was once powerful. Why 3D Realms was once powerful.

They don't need publishers to finish their games. They do their own thing, they have enough cash to finish a game on their own. It gives them supreme bargaining power.
32.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 17, 2010, 09:15
Prez
 
32.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 17, 2010, 09:15
Jul 17, 2010, 09:15
 Prez
 
Epic is still technically an indie studio. Mark probably has more indie experience than most of that panel combined.

By that metric Valve is an indie developer. Which is why almost no one uses that metric. While it may be technically true given the somewhat obscure way "indie" is defined, it clearly ignores the true characteristics that define an actual indie developer. The definition has evolved past the simple lack of a publisher for most uses of the term.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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31.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 17, 2010, 03:22
31.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 17, 2010, 03:22
Jul 17, 2010, 03:22
 
Even if you discount Epic's recent history as a major development studio, Mark Rein has considerable indie experience (though in a different age... one where people still sent cheques in the mail).

Being an indie dev in the early 90's was quite a bit different than being an indie dev now. For one, games cost significantly less money to create. As a result, publishers weren't nearly as important as they are now. Secondly, games (particularly on the PC) were a niche hobby so marketing wasn't a big consideration. If you made a game and distributed it through shareware, BBS, etc, chances were good that people and publications would seek it out. This is not the case today. Finally, production values were low across the board so presentation was less of a factor in a game's success.

Even with the internet, being a successful indie today is much harder than it was in the early 90's due to significantly more competition and the huge disparity between indie games and big-budget games in terms of presentation and marketing.
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30.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 17, 2010, 03:04
30.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 17, 2010, 03:04
Jul 17, 2010, 03:04
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 17, 2010, 02:02:
When people speak of indie developers, they tend to be referring to developers who finance their own games without publishers. Epic does not finance their own games without publishers.

I imagine that Jazz Jackrabbit, Tyrian and Epic Pinball (among others) were self-funded, and those were created while Mark Rein was involved with Epic. Even if you discount Epic's recent history as a major development studio, Mark Rein has considerable indie experience (though in a different age... one where people still sent cheques in the mail).
29.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 17, 2010, 02:02
29.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 17, 2010, 02:02
Jul 17, 2010, 02:02
 
Epic is still technically an indie studio. Mark probably has more indie experience than most of that panel combined. But his experience is finding a way to make an indie massively successful and able to compete with the non-indie.

When people speak of indie developers, they tend to be referring to developers who finance their own games without publishers. Epic does not finance their own games without publishers. So while Epic may not be owned by any publisher, they are very much dependent on publisher funding for the games they develop.
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28.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 16, 2010, 22:54
28.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 16, 2010, 22:54
Jul 16, 2010, 22:54
 
It's free drama publicity and it's probably helping him pay the bills.

So this is him taking Mark's advice and paying the bills by finding ways to reach to more than just one customer at a time?

I'm thinking we're not getting a full story here. Other people flesh it out some in the comments. It seems that some people that were there think that Mark has a point, he just expressed it in a very poor way.

Regardless, all this speak of indie cred is kind of funny. Epic is still technically an indie studio. Mark probably has more indie experience than most of that panel combined. But his experience is finding a way to make an indie massively successful and able to compete with the non-indie. That's clearly not the goal of many of these studios, and they view "indie" as a mindset as much as actual independence.
27.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 16, 2010, 22:41
27.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 16, 2010, 22:41
Jul 16, 2010, 22:41
 
Rein might be a jerk for what he said, but this whole blog post idea lacks class as well.

It's free drama publicity and it's probably helping him pay the bills.
Perpetual debt is slavery.
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26.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 16, 2010, 21:53
26.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 16, 2010, 21:53
Jul 16, 2010, 21:53
 
RTFA=Read The Fucking Article?

I did. I still want to see video/audio. I can't find it.
25.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 16, 2010, 19:11
25.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 16, 2010, 19:11
Jul 16, 2010, 19:11
 
heh. mark rein is an idiot
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24.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 16, 2010, 19:01
24.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 16, 2010, 19:01
Jul 16, 2010, 19:01
 
Rein might be a jerk for what he said, but this whole blog post idea lacks class as well.
Some of the most miserable and unhappy gamers on the planet are at Bluesnews
23.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 16, 2010, 17:59
23.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 16, 2010, 17:59
Jul 16, 2010, 17:59
 
waaaaahhh waaaaaahh
22.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 16, 2010, 17:23
22.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 16, 2010, 17:23
Jul 16, 2010, 17:23
 
we got your back Cliff. fuck that *insert racial slur here* bastid
----------------------------------------------------------------------
"Both the “left” and the “right” pretend they have the answer, but they are mere flippers on the same thalidomide baby, and the truth is that neither side has a clue."

- Jim Goad
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21.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 16, 2010, 17:20
Kxmode
 
21.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 16, 2010, 17:20
Jul 16, 2010, 17:20
 Kxmode
 
Overon wrote on Jul 16, 2010, 17:11:
Is this another petty squabble like the kotick vs schafer squabble? Is there a video or audio so we can hear exactly what happened?

RTFA
"...and in stonks, Fizzy Squeezy Stocklebocks leaped over Droopy Whoopy Bondfluffs, hitting 300-gigglebits to their 150-snorebucks. Meanwhile, in Whimsyland's market, the pancakes reached parity with pogo sticks."
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20.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 16, 2010, 17:11
20.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 16, 2010, 17:11
Jul 16, 2010, 17:11
 
Is this another petty squabble like the kotick vs schafer squabble? Is there a video or audio so we can hear exactly what happened?
19.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 16, 2010, 16:33
19.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 16, 2010, 16:33
Jul 16, 2010, 16:33
 
Yikes, this summer is seriously overheated. Or could there be another reason for all this great entertainment? First Tim Schafer vs Kotick and now Cliffski vs Rein.

Anyways, well written Cliffski. But as you already recognized yourself, "this is not groundbreaking news".
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18.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 16, 2010, 15:42
Prez
 
18.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 16, 2010, 15:42
Jul 16, 2010, 15:42
 Prez
 
Good for Cliffski. While it is uncertain whether Mark Rein's heckling was just a friendly jab or mean-spirited, Mark Rein is indeed a jerk.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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17.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 16, 2010, 15:20
17.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 16, 2010, 15:20
Jul 16, 2010, 15:20
 
Wow, heckling an indie-gamer panel. Classy.
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16.
 
Re: Cliffski versus Epic
Jul 16, 2010, 15:03
16.
Re: Cliffski versus Epic Jul 16, 2010, 15:03
Jul 16, 2010, 15:03
 
Damn, Cliffski, NOW you discover that Mark Rein is a jerk?.

Where have you been the last... uh... 10 years every fucking time Rein opened his mouth and said something?
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