Bad Time at Spacetime

The Spacetime Studios Website (thanks Develop) has some unfortunate news about layoffs at the indie developer at work on Blackstar, a science-fiction MMORPG:
Our company has been entirely self-funded the for the last six months while we tried to find a publishing deal for ‘Blackstar.’ Throughout this period we have held onto our pre-production development team because, honestly, we think they are the best of the best. We have been shopping Blackstar around but - right now, at least – the concept of a SciFi space/ground IP has proven to be a challenge. Our studio cannot survive at its current burn rate without a publishing deal, so we face a necessary (though very difficult and painful) decision. We are scaling down from thirty-two down to sixteen folks in the hopes of developing a pitch, a prototype and another publishing deal.

We will be letting some very good folks go. They will receive extended benefits and we will be doing everything we can to help them land on their feet again. We consider these people to be the cream of the crop, so if you are looking to staff up your team please drop us a line at jobs@spacetimestudios.com.
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27.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 7, 2008, 07:53
27.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 7, 2008, 07:53
Aug 7, 2008, 07:53
 
to correct you for the second time tonight, walking on stations is comming, already planed, there is media to look at if you look it up. it appears ccp are willing to take that risk the same way they took the risk that made them a succesfull company in the first place.

Theo, you're not paying attention.

Also, correcting me because of a typo is just foolish; and sabre rattling over inconsequential corrections like that makes you look foolish and petty. Its like trying to correct people about spelling and grammar mistakes online.

Setting the EVE numbers aside, I am well aware of the fact that walking in stations has been planned...for almost three years now I think.

1. Its not here yet

2. My post had NOTHING to do with whether or not it was coming. Its not here yet. Until then, its vaporware. And if it was easy to do, it would have been here long before all those inconsequential add-ons they've been releasing. Hence my point: its not easy and will require some serious architectural and gameplay changes. Read my post #22 again.

Do try to keep up. I know that you fanboys tend to type more and read less, but try harder because I know you can do it.


This comment was edited on Aug 7, 07:55.
Game developers are just human beings who happen to make games for a living. If you want to hold us up to higher standards of conduct, then go ahead
...but don't be surprised if we don't uphold them
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26.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 7, 2008, 04:18
26.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 7, 2008, 04:18
Aug 7, 2008, 04:18
 
In fact, its the very nature of Eve that prevents them from

(1) doing a planetside based add-on

(2) an in-ship/station based add-on.

Both of which will require - pretty much - a complete retooling of the entire game, engines, technology etc. At the expense - and risk - of alienating the install base who - by the very gaming definition are very happy with the Status Quo.


to correct you for the second time tonight, walking on stations is comming, already planed, there is media to look at if you look it up. it appears ccp are willing to take that risk the same way they took the risk that made them a succesfull company in the first place.


thank you for your answers on the other stuff, interesting.

in otherwords when the publishing deal was got they ether A) sold themselves down the river to get the game made, or B) fail at math, or C) publishers are even bigger leechs than is already public domain.

This comment was edited on Aug 7, 06:06.
Everyone on Bluesnews is synical, get over it.
edit: i cant spell, this is my disclaimer.
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25.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 18:12
25.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 18:12
Aug 6, 2008, 18:12
 
A lot of people don't see a difference between it and traditional space combat games. I can see why people cannot see a diffrance as if you don't play the traditional space combat games with a joystick the difference between Eve and traditional space combat games is tiny. The tactical intelligence and spontaneous decision-making in traditional space games is in Eve. The only diffrance is the controle method.

Eloquently stated. Nice job. It sums it up completely and I am in agreement with you.
Game developers are just human beings who happen to make games for a living. If you want to hold us up to higher standards of conduct, then go ahead
...but don't be surprised if we don't uphold them
Avatar 9141
24.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 18:03
24.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 18:03
Aug 6, 2008, 18:03
 
"Eve is not a traditional space combat game or sim for that matter. And it irks me when the Eve fans try to defend it against such a description."
Some defend it as a traditional space combat games because it is very close to being one, apart from 1 small element it is just like a traditional space combat. Almost everything in traditional space combat games is in Eve. A lot of people don't see a difference between it and traditional space combat games. I can see why people cannot see a diffrance as if you don't play the traditional space combat games with a joystick the difference between Eve and traditional space combat games is tiny. The tactical intelligence and spontaneous decision-making in traditional space games is in Eve. The only diffrance is the controle method.

Most people who play Eve play it for the combat. A lot play it solo for the combat. But saying that I agree it's not a traditional space combat game it's a sub genre that came from traditional space combat games. But it is still a good space combat game and a popular one at that. It's just not a traditional space combat games.
This comment was edited on Aug 6, 18:05.
23.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 17:50
23.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 17:50
Aug 6, 2008, 17:50
 
Indeed. But you're missing the point. Most of these indie devs aren't looking to do those kind of games. Why? because before you can pitch such a game, the publisher either (1) has one like it in development or (2) have been pitched a million times already and aren't interested

e.g. Consider Namco's Ace Combat 6, Ubi's upcoming H.A.W.X, 1C's upcoming IL2 - Birds Of Prey. They're all about flight sims. On consoles. Let me repeat that. ON CONSOLES

Who would ever have thunk it that we would even be discussing, let alone buying and playing more than one (for its day, the Ace Combat series were it) such game on consoles?
And that pretty well describes what is wrong with the game industry these days. Publishers are all about the "me too!" games, and don't put out much of anything that is original or different. That's where there is opportunity for indie developers, if they can get their game distributed somehow. Online distribution is really the only way they can go. I think that's going to keep getting better for them as more and more of us are willing (and even prefer) to buy games online.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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22.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 17:38
22.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 17:38
Aug 6, 2008, 17:38
 
I think the problem that most space and eve fans have with your attitude (and this is a grown un disscussion not a flame fest), is that your incredibly tunnel'ed in what you consider a good space game.

Actually I'm not tunneled. In fact, I was developing space games long before Eve was even a dream, let alone a reality. So, if nothing else, I think I have a very good grasp about the genre in general.

Eve is not a traditional space combat game or sim for that matter. And it irks me when the Eve fans try to defend it against such a description.

Fact is that - as per the initial sales numbers - if Eve were a stand-alone non-MMO game, it would have failed right off the bat and CCP would be but a memory.

The main draw in Eve are the social aspects, presentation and timing.

More importantly, it came at a time when EA was fumbling with Earth A&B and SOE/Lucas were about to unleash their next clusterfuck that was the SWG travesty.

The timing was perfect because many had been yearning for a space based MMO type game. I can 100% guarantee you that they weren't yearning for the gameplay mechanics that was the Eve they started playing. Which explains the initial low numbers which have risen (and dropped) over the years.

My comments about Eve have nothing to do with whether or not it is a good space game. Sure, it probably is a good game, but its not a good space combat game. Period. End of story.

Any game will have its supporters and haters. I love - and own - every single space game ever developed. Yes, I have ALL of them and have played ALL of them.

I do not like Eve particularly because its not what I want it to be. So, I don't play it. And given its 200K numbers, my guess is there are millions who feel the same way that I do.

I don't like Jumpgate because NetDevil kept ignoring it and pissing away their talent on some completely unrelated genres and properties. Which - as we've seen - they have zero experience in. Though I can't say I blame them since we all have bills to pay.

Is it a wonder that NetDevil is looking to reboot it with Evolution?

so yes, it is a spread sheet in space, it caters more to the guy who wants to be captain picard; where as games like jumpgate aim to the people who want to be starbuck and as you said, nothing wrong with that.

Exactly what I've been saying.

but, your comments make out like its a BAD thing that some people want a captain picard experiance and whilst that it is ok for us to like it we are some how not space fans and are being dishonest to the genere.

uhm, nowhere did I say that was a bad thing. In fact, I said quite the opposite.

Get this. When you pitch a space MMO to the publishers, don't you think they do the research? Is it any wonder then that there NO space based MMO games in development aside from the canned work-in-progress Blackstar which we are discussing?

Don't you think was the poster child for space combat games that

(1) there would be more games like it in development

(2) Blackstar would have nary a problem with funding, let alone getting it signed

(3) The JTL expansion that was SWG would have made a dent?

The fact is, they take one look at Eve and go "...oh hell no". And walk away. If thats what a space combat MMO is supposed to be like for us to make money, attract subscribers etc, we're not interested. Pretty much thats how it goes.

in your 3 years, you end up with 25 million assuming you sell 500k units, then you deduct your cost, that leaves you with your 22 million after development costs. if this is the case why arnt more development houses self funded after there first successfull game? with that 22 million you could self finance many many more AAA games, yet most development houses (huge names like valve, id, etc aside) go with cap in hand to the publishers again looking for money for the next title, where does this falldown?

Simple answer. Most of that money doesn't go to the developers. Thats why they can't turn back around and re-invest it on such a venture. Whatever the devs get from their funding, they are lucky to earn back after the publisher takes their cut. Which is why studios that don't have something else lined up after their big project, either end up being closed or their team laid off.

The triple-A game market isn't easy either, and may not have a great return most of the time, but it's also not where these smaller developers should be aiming either. They should be the innovators making the games that the big companies won't do. Things like Portal, Space Rangers 2, or Fallen Empire: Legions. Games that aren't really big-budget, but can serve to meet the demands for something other than the next WoW or Call of Duty game.

Indeed. But you're missing the point. Most of these indie devs aren't looking to do those kind of games. Why? because before you can pitch such a game, the publisher either (1) has one like it in development or (2) have been pitched a million times already and aren't interested

e.g. Consider Namco's Ace Combat 6, Ubi's upcoming H.A.W.X, 1C's upcoming IL2 - Birds Of Prey. They're all about flight sims. On consoles. Let me repeat that. ON CONSOLES

Who would ever have thunk it that we would even be discussing, let alone buying and playing more than one (for its day, the Ace Combat series were it) such game on consoles?

Ace Combat 6, the likes of Ubi's Blazing Angels games etc woke up the others. All of a sudden, air combat games are cool on consoles. As I type this, according to my sources, I fully expect EA to announce one of their own very soon.

Meanwhile, the only space combat games in recent memory - those being Project Sypheed and the complete and utter rubbish there collectively were Battlestar Galactica XBLA, Wing Commander XBLA all tanked spectactularly. That sort of crap doesn't help the genre either.

I promise no matter what dsmart posts or others who say Eve is a spreadsheet post. I am not going pull the posts apart trying to pick holes and prove them wrong. I generally want to know why people think Eve is rubbish and why people thinks it's like a spreadsheet. It's very hard to understand or accept the viewpoint of it being like a spreadsheet when it's not explained. As far as I can see the calculations are no worse then twitch based games.

It's not a case of turn on shields, do my shields recharge faster than his weapon damage. Do my weapons deal damage faster than his shields recharge. Like a twitch based game you move your ship and try and make them miss you based on movement. You use different combat methods based on the situation. You use afterburners, angles of fighting so they miss you e.c.t

I dunno, but from where I'm sitting, anyone who actually knows what a spreadsheet is, has used one - and has played Eve - will immediately understand the analogy.

Eve is a LOT more work than is required for the traditional space combat game. It requires a significant investment of time. Its that time investment that has kept its existing fan base alive because quitting - after putting so much into it and then not knowing when the next space MMO fix is coming along - is too much to bear. Yet still, several are in fact quitting it and moving on. To WoW.

In fact, its the very nature of Eve that prevents them from

(1) doing a planetside based add-on

(2) an in-ship/station based add-on.

Both of which will require - pretty much - a complete retooling of the entire game, engines, technology etc. At the expense - and risk - of alienating the install base who - by the very gaming definition are very happy with the Status Quo.

This comment was edited on Aug 6, 17:50.
Game developers are just human beings who happen to make games for a living. If you want to hold us up to higher standards of conduct, then go ahead
...but don't be surprised if we don't uphold them
Avatar 9141
21.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 17:11
21.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 17:11
Aug 6, 2008, 17:11
 
pottsey for gods sake, give it up, we get enough of your grief on the eve-o forums with the stupid sheild tanked mega topics


This comment was edited on Aug 6, 17:12.
Everyone on Bluesnews is synical, get over it.
edit: i cant spell, this is my disclaimer.
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20.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 17:07
20.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 17:07
Aug 6, 2008, 17:07
 
Completely re-edited

I promise no matter what dsmart posts or others who say Eve is a spreadsheet post. I am not going pull the posts apart trying to pick holes and prove them wrong. I generally want to know why people think Eve is rubbish and why people thinks it's like a spreadsheet. It's very hard to understand or accept the viewpoint of it being like a spreadsheet when it's not explained. As far as I can see the calculations are no worse then twitch based games.

It's not a case of turn on shields, do my shields recharge faster than his weapon damage. Do my weapons deal damage faster than his shields recharge. Like a twitch based game you move your ship and try and make them miss you based on movement. You use different combat methods based on the situation. You use afterburners, angles of fighting so they miss you e.c.t
This comment was edited on Aug 6, 17:24.
19.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 16:53
19.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 16:53
Aug 6, 2008, 16:53
 
I have to disagree, most other space games don't come close to Eve. Since Cosmos it's not right to say Eve is a spreadsheet.
EVE is all about crunching numbers and calculations of all sorts. I tried EVE for a while, but it felt way too much like work for me.

I'm not sure if we were in agreement or not Derek. I think my point is that the MMOG market is a lot more limited than the non-MMOG market. It can only support so many games because they tend to be mutually exclusive for the most part. Most people don't play more than one or two of them at a time, and they tend to stick with the ones they like because they already have a significant time and money investment in them. So it's a tough market to break into.

The triple-A game market isn't easy either, and may not have a great return most of the time, but it's also not where these smaller developers should be aiming either. They should be the innovators making the games that the big companies won't do. Things like Portal, Space Rangers 2, or Fallen Empire: Legions. Games that aren't really big-budget, but can serve to meet the demands for something other than the next WoW or Call of Duty game.


"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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18.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 16:48
18.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 16:48
Aug 6, 2008, 16:48
 
[note please stick with me after my defense of eve i have some genuine questions]

I think the problem that most space and eve fans have with your attitude (and this is a grown un disscussion not a flame fest), is that your incredibly tunnel'ed in what you consider a good space game.

your insites in to the industry are no doubt very insightful and basically writen with a level of knoladge that others just dont have (at least not everyone, some people have worked in the industry on various levels and understand the outlay and such publishers put out).

"Please. This is not a pissing war. Eve plays like a spreadsheet. I don't fucking care how many ruins you can explore or how many girl's skirts get blown up by the graphics. When we're talking about the traditional space combat games - which is what every space combat game, including BlackStar are doing/trying to do, Eve doesn't even come close to counting"

thats correct, Eve does not play like a plane dog fighting game with large black back grounds. lots of space games cater to "world war II in space"; thats great fun. but that does not invalidate the experiance of commanding a huge vessel in space.

Eve has plently of thought behind the combat, it's just you dont yank a joystick for it. i've heard you say previously (and i am paraphrasing - appologies for the miss quote) that eve is a case of turning your ship stats "on" and then seeing who gets the better rolls. it's this attitude that most folks who understand eves combat get upset about, mainly because thats not the case, point in example, angle your ship so that a enemy has a greater transversal velocity, he will find it harder for his guns to track you, etc, etc, etc.

so yes, it is a spread sheet in space, it caters more to the guy who wants to be captain picard; where as games like jumpgate aim to the people who want to be starbuck and as you said, nothing wrong with that. but, your comments make out like its a BAD thing that some people want a captain picard experiance and whilst that it is ok for us to like it we are some how not space fans and are being dishonest to the genere.

the iwar games are a good paradox, you are supposed to be flying huge ships with crews yet you fling the thing around like its a prom queen on a late night orgy, odd odd odd (but none the less lots of fun and some of my faviourate games).


"Naturally, there are 200K people who like to play Eve - regardless of the premise. There's nothing wrong with that. When you factor in the size of the PC gaming landscape in which you can sell 500K units for a triple-A game, 200 subscribers is chicken feed.

triple A games in general as far as i (with my meger experiance) am aware have around a 4 to 3 year development cycle. they cost any place between 2.5 million to 4 million to make. a MMO thesedays has at least a 5 year development cycle and this realistically can be up to 7 years, generally as you mention the cost can be i would guess in the ballpark of 9 to 15 million.

in your 3 years, you end up with 25 million assuming you sell 500k units, then you deduct your cost, that leaves you with your 22 million after development costs. if this is the case why arnt more development houses self funded after there first successfull game? with that 22 million you could self finance many many more AAA games, yet most development houses (huge names like valve, id, etc aside) go with cap in hand to the publishers again looking for money for the next title, where does this falldown?

i genunily dont understand... (i am asking here, not flaming its a genuine question).

with a mmo, its different, my game cost me 15 million to make and i shipped 500k units, thats 25 million after box sales, so i run a profit of 10 million. then after 1 month lets say i have a 50% retention (so the game does not suck that badly) i get a further 2.5 million, month 2 another 2.5 million, obviously we have to cater for running costs here...

but still does not seem a bad model, the issue being that its the case really that its eggs all in 1 basket, what if the retention is only 10%? can i still keep the servers running?

its a interesting subject in general tbh

not even sure i had a point here, but yadda yadda yadda.

btw, excuse the typing, i am VERY VERY VERY drunk.


This comment was edited on Aug 6, 16:50.
Everyone on Bluesnews is synical, get over it.
edit: i cant spell, this is my disclaimer.
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17.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 16:43
17.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 16:43
Aug 6, 2008, 16:43
 
"The smaller you are, the lower your dev costs and overhead. At least for the most part."
I understand now, yes I agree with that.




" Please. This is not a pissing war. Eve plays like a spreadsheet. I don't fucking care how many ruins you can explore or how many girl's skirts get blown up by the graphics. When we're talking about the traditional space combat games - which is what every space combat game, including BlackStar are doing/trying to do, Eve doesn't even come close to counting."
I am not trying to have a pissing war I am trying to understand why you think it's a spreadsheet. I gave examples of how it's not a spreadsheet. From my point of view your comments of its a spreadsheet, its a rubbish space game are completely unjustified. As space games go in recent years it's not only classed as one of the best, but it's also one of the most popular ones. Fair enough if you don't like Eve but could you please explain why you think its rubbish and why you think it's like a spreadsheet. I really don't see how it any more a spreadsheet that any other space game. Master of Orion 3 now thats a spreadsheet space game. I don't want to start arguing about who's right, I just want to understand where you are coming from.

Comments like "The only thing that Eve has in common with the likes of Evolution and typical space combat games in general, is the setting: space." Is wrong. Apart from the fact Eve isn't is twitch based game it's got a lot in commen with other typical space combat games. Ok Eve isnt a typical space combat, I see it as a none twitch sub genre of typical space combat games.

Most space games can be placed in one of two categories twitch based and none twitch based. Personally I like the none twitch based ones that are slower and more tactical like Eve or Nexus. For me Eve and Nexus feel like you're in command of a ship and crew while I find twitch based games often feel like it's just you in the ship all alone. I do like the odd twitch based space games Wing Commander: Privateer 2 rates very highly for me. I just dont see why Eve doesn't even come close to counting just because its none twitch based. Eve has almost everything traditional space combat games have and it has a lot more on top of traditional space games. Combat in Eve has a lot of elements shared with twitch based games. It matters what ship you chose, what equipment you fit, what speed your going, turret tracking based on speed of enemy ship the list goes on.

In Eve it matter what directions you fly in combat, what speed you go, if you use afterburners or not. What type of weapon you use V the target. How is this like a spreadsheet game?





Did you try Nexus The Jupiter Incident? What did you think of that? At first I found the interface really bad, but once learnt the UI I found the space combat brilliant.




"When you factor in the size of the PC gaming landscape in which you can sell 500K units for a triple-A game, 200 subscribers is chicken feed."
When you factor in that's 200+ subscribers this month it's not chicken feed. 200k subscribers now equals well over 500k units sold if not over 1 million units sold. More then enough sales to match a triple-A game.




" The likes of EA have poured millions into the likes of Earth Above & Beyond, only to see it tank."]
I was a big fan of E&B but the reason E&B tanked was EA wouldn't pour money into it. Once EA got there hands on it advertisements practically stopped, updates came out once in a blue moon, devs got sacked the dev team was cut massively down. EA move the E&B team all the way across the country disrupting the dev team and many refused to move. Lack of money and development was what killed E&B.

That and as you know Space games just are not as popular as other types of games, which is a real shame.
This comment was edited on Aug 6, 16:58.
16.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 16:09
16.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 16:09
Aug 6, 2008, 16:09
 
Just for acuracys stake, Eve Has around 220k subscribers, (205k last offical count), and has had peek concurrent users of just over the 40k mark.

heh, that was a typo actually; as I am aware of their numbers

Iceland has a very high cost of living I was looking at various sites with wages for software programmers and devs and the was cost an average of 10 to 15k more in Iceland. Surlys its cheaper to make a game in North American over Iceland.

The cost of living has nothing to do with the cost of development. And thats not what I was talking about.

In the context that I speaking in is when you take a small company like CCP, their install base is more than enough to keep them going. Factor in the likes of, say, NCSoft, EA, SOE etc and you begin to see how it can add up. The smaller you are, the lower your dev costs and overhead. At least for the most part.

I have to disagree, most other space games don't come close to Eve. Since Cosmos it's not right to say Eve is a spreadsheet. When you can spend hours doing archaeology in old space ruins and astrometrics to explore, or you can follow the storylines in Cosmos regions it's not fair to say it's a spreadsheet in space. It's no more a spread sheet in space then Nexus The Jupiter Incident which to me is one of the best space games in recent years. Eve is not without its flaws but as space games come its one of the best ones we have to choose from.

Please. This is not a pissing war. Eve plays like a spreadsheet. I don't fucking care how many ruins you can explore or how many girl's skirts get blown up by the graphics. When we're talking about the traditional space combat games - which is what every space combat game, including BlackStar are doing/trying to do, Eve doesn't even come close to counting.

Naturally, there are 200K people who like to play Eve - regardless of the premise. There's nothing wrong with that. When you factor in the size of the PC gaming landscape in which you can sell 500K units for a triple-A game, 200 subscribers is chicken feed.

Don't you think that if ANY publisher had any inkling that 200K subscribers for a rubbish space game like Eve was achievable and/or attainable, that several would be in development, the likes of BlackStar would not have been dropped by the publisher, let alone canned outright?

The problem with armchair pundits is that they don't have any clue what the big picture is. No, a painting in the clouds does not count.

The likes of EA have poured millions into the likes of Earth Above & Beyond, only to see it tank. Don't you think EA has the resources to attract the best minds in the business to do a competitor to Eve? Or SOE? Or ActiBlizzard? Or Microsoft (which has dropped and/or canned no less than three MMO games to date). The issue is that the Eve numbers are rubbish in the larger scheme of things and going into the space combat genre at such a huge expense - and very little game - does NOT look good in the books.

I stand by my original post. If Blizzard would do a SciFi MMORPG it would be successful, too, because Blizzard produces great games not because their games have the setting du jour.

uhm, rubbish. While Blizzard - bar none - have some of the best minds in the business, WoW is based on their tried and proven experience and product synergy. If ANY other company had done WoW, it would have failed. Much like all the flegling MMOs of today.

Even so, Blizzard knows when something isn't working. Anyone remember Starcraft Ghost? Yep. Canned.

Don't you think that if they wanted to keep printing money with a tried and proven [WoW] formula that they would even bother with the likes of Diablo III? A non-MMO game at that?

This comment was edited on Aug 6, 16:37.
Game developers are just human beings who happen to make games for a living. If you want to hold us up to higher standards of conduct, then go ahead
...but don't be surprised if we don't uphold them
Avatar 9141
15.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 14:36
15.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 14:36
Aug 6, 2008, 14:36
 
But seeing how they took a bath on Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa - both non-traditional (i.e. no orcs, elves) sci-fi projects,

The more I read about TR the more it sounded like WoW in Space.


The problem is that space combat games are a very niche genre and doing an MMOG based on that genre - in this industry climate - is suicidal. At best.

I remember quite a few underwhelmed and sceptical previews for Starcraft (ugly, strange, in space, should have made Warcraft III instead) and Diablo (hack&slash is dead, dumb, not a "Real RPG"(TM)).

The biggest issue here is that while a small company like CCP can get away with their niche title and relatively

mmogcharts says eve is in the top 10 of mmorpgs. Considering the number that've been developed and tanked in the meantime I'd say that's pretty impressive for a game that plays like Excel in Space.

small install base,

200000 subscriptions is quite big

lower dev costs (they're in Iceland)

Iceland's the 5th richest country in the world.

...snip...

The rest of your post boils down to: "crappy developers and crappy publishers produce crap" (+5, insightful)

and: "if you can cut out the brainless monkeys that populate the upper management of big publishers you're better off"


I stand by my original post. If Blizzard would do a SciFi MMORPG it would be successful, too, because Blizzard produces great games not because their games have the setting du jour.

14.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 14:18
14.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 14:18
Aug 6, 2008, 14:18
 
"This is the primary reason why 50K subscribers for Eve"
It's more like 250k ish and growing. There are almost 50k users online. More then 50k if you count all 3 servers at peak.




"CCP can get away with their niche title and relatively small install base, lower dev costs (they're in Iceland) etc, the typical North American company cannot."
Iceland has a very high cost of living I was looking at various sites with wages for software programmers and devs and the was cost an average of 10 to 15k more in Iceland. Surlys its cheaper to make a game in North American over Iceland.




"Eve is really pretty much a spreadsheet set in space. When compared to the traditional space combat genre, it doesn't even come close."
I have to disagree, most other space games don't come close to Eve. Since Cosmos it's not right to say Eve is a spreadsheet. When you can spend hours doing archaeology in old space ruins and astrometrics to explore, or you can follow the storylines in Cosmos regions it's not fair to say it's a spreadsheet in space. It's no more a spread sheet in space then Nexus The Jupiter Incident which to me is one of the best space games in recent years. Eve is not without its flaws but as space games come its one of the best ones we have to choose from.
This comment was edited on Aug 6, 14:32.
13.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 14:11
13.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 14:11
Aug 6, 2008, 14:11
 
Just for acuracys stake, Eve Has around 220k subscribers, (205k last offical count), and has had peek concurrent users of just over the 40k mark.

intersting insite btw derek, i played and beta'd the original jumpgate pretty fanatically, unfortunatly whilst the combat was fun the game lacked any real political hook i expect from a space mmo..

eve lacks the twitch combat, but politically its a bit of a master piece.


/Theo

This comment was edited on Aug 6, 14:14.
Everyone on Bluesnews is synical, get over it.
edit: i cant spell, this is my disclaimer.
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12.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 13:45
12.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 13:45
Aug 6, 2008, 13:45
 
Color me fucking shocked.

I actually agree with Derek Smart, for once.

"Just take a look around you, what do you see? Pain, suffering, and misery." -Black Sabbath, Killing Yourself to Live.

“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” -Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Avatar 21247
11.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 13:33
11.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 13:33
Aug 6, 2008, 13:33
 
I guess I just don't really understand why everyone and his dog is trying to create MMOGs. I realize that the upside, if your game takes off, is huge, but the arena is just so crowded that unless you have the ability to create something utterly compelling and incredible looking, you're just wasting money.

Actually the draw is not about it being huge, but rather about it being financially viable such that it turns a profit.

The logic and business sense is fairly straightforward. Its like your monthly cable or satellite or internet bill. Once you get the infrastructure in and subscribers on board, depending on how you do it, you pretty much get a license to print money. As long as the costs of keeping the infrastructure running is low enough to have the subscriber fees pay for it and turn a profit.

In the case of MMO games, think about this. Would you rather :

(1) Spend upwards of two years and about $3m (worse case scenario) on a new project every two-three years. Then do the publisher song and dance to get it published. Then hope you either (a) earn back your advances and see some extra cash or (b) get your whole team laid off once the publisher ships the game.

Rinse. Repeat

or

(2) Spend upwards of five years and about $10m (and thats being really conservative) on a single MMO project. A project which has the potential to earn a steady revenue stream

I can tell you right now that option 2, even if you can afford it, is the most risky. No matter how many brainiacs you lock up in a room.

It is also the one that requires the most patience on the side of the publisher because most of the tools and backend required for an MMO, need to be developed from scratch to fit your game. The MMO middleware thats out there right now ranges between rubbish and nonsensical.

Also, since investors are impatient bastards for the most part, even if you did get funding, you're going to be on pins and needles for the duration. And even then, it can all go sideways. See the MMO, "Horizons" various reboots.

Even when you can go it alone - or have funding - all it takes is one motherload of a screw up for the curtains to fall. See my running list of failed MMO games to see what I mean.

Even the likes of Fury and the travesty that is the much hyped Hellgate (not an MMO but they actually tried to sell it like one) are testament to this very fact. The Star Trek Online MMO should also serve as a reminder that most of these guys starting up these projects, don't have a fucking clue wtf they're doing. Period. Everyone just prays that they get a pay check. e.g. the first time that STO was announced here, didn't I say that (a) they're fucking clueless (b) they would fail?

Game developers, quite frankly, are chasing the all elusive quick buck due to the changing times. That goal is largely unattainable which is why more than 90% of the big budget games that ship, never - ever - recoup their costs. Which is why you see the likes of Activision hanging on the likes of Spyro, while tossing aside an entire team (Massive) responsible for quite a number of awesome and ground breaking RTS games. Its cheaper to developer the next wave of mass market rubbish, than it is to fund a top tier triple-A game and see it to the end.

The current financial climate and industry consolidation, coupled with rampant piracy, hasn't made things any easier. Low tier publishers and devs are going out of business, while middle tier ones (e.g. see SCi/Eidos, THQ, Atari etc) are hanging on for dear life or releasing projects - which never turn a profit, ever - to keep in business and attract investors or the like. It is the top tier (EA, MS, UBi, ActiBlizzard etc) publishers that are rampanging through gamer dollars like it was a cheap hooker at the prom.

And for a game developer, when you can't get a top tier publisher to sign your game - which they won't do unless it has "million seller potential written all over it" - you have no choice but seek out the fly in the ointment: The low to middle tier publisher who (e.g. Atari, Dreamcatcher failed and bought out by JoWood for pennies on the dollar etc) are likely to go out of business and take your earnings and IP with them.

The end game is that everyone has to make mass market titles because they are cheaper, take less time and are less risky.

As we've seen with Fuel Of War, having a team with impressive credentials doesn't mean squat anymore. And publishers DO look at that; which explains why even with their talent pedigree, the likes of Spacetime can't get their game signed. Its not just about money. Its all about risk of venture.

Digital distribution remains the bastion for small and casual games. As it has always been. No matter how good a high budget game is, unless you get it into retail, you'd be hard pressed to make any money on digital distribution alone. Just ask Valve and their much hyped Steam delivery system why they still neede EA Partners to move boxes for them. Or ask Epic, ID and the like.

So, no, digital distribution is not the answer here either because even the costs of retail (e.g. a $40 game with a retail price of about $25 and a profit of about $12-15 after marketing, dev costs, production etc) is not negligible. The cost of digital distribution has no impact whatsoever. e.g between Direct2Drive and Gamers Gate, you're looking at around 50-70% in royalties. Even without any production costs involved. Thats because those publishers also have overhead, bills to pay (e.g. billing, hosting, bandwidth etc).

So while over, say, three months, you may sell 50 units of a $40 game online and get about $26 per unit, worst case scenario, you can sell 300 units for three months at retail and get about $10 per unit royalty. And if you're going through a publisher for retail, well that $10/unit begins to look a lot like $5/unit. Nevertheless, going into retail beats anything you do via digital distribution - excluding longevity.

So in the MMO world, if you can go it alone - like CCP - you can make tidy a sum to keep going. As long as (a) the game is good enough for those paying to have a go at the treadmill (b) you keep the install base transfixed on that treadmill by way of new expansions, features etc.

Getting there from here, is the hurdle. Most never leave "here". And thats where Spacetime is right now.
Game developers are just human beings who happen to make games for a living. If you want to hold us up to higher standards of conduct, then go ahead
...but don't be surprised if we don't uphold them
Avatar 9141
10.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 10:51
10.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 10:51
Aug 6, 2008, 10:51
 
Sorry another MMO from guys indoctrinated by Starr Long it appears. As in pretty artwork is everything and engaging gameplay will get done in Beta. And I suspect the combat rules were lifted from another game and thrown in willy nilly.

SF MMO have many issues versus the realm of fantasy
magic can do anything , but use science and people will wonder why their puny gun only shoots 20ft.
game ressurrection mechanics with spirits and corpse runs works in fantasy. in SF they just replicate your gear and body every friggin' time. So why can't I pay to have my uber weapons/armor/Spaceship duped again for my guildmates?
scale is also a problem with immersion. SF take place normally in galaxies yet I have to run for an hour to join my team in some zone for a raid. fantasy does not guarantee you a hoverbike/aircar/ManCannon but SF should.


Austin- we got game DEVs at every sushi/bulgogi restaurant in town trying to pitch another IP to anyone that will listen.

This comment was edited on Aug 6, 10:52.
9.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 10:49
9.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 10:49
Aug 6, 2008, 10:49
 
Well said Wowbagger, although I would kill for a Warhammer 40K MMO

Well I would kill for any new WH:40K game, that isnt DoW2 that is

I have a nifty blue line!
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8.
 
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med
Aug 6, 2008, 10:44
8.
Re: ...the space combat genre is d0med Aug 6, 2008, 10:44
Aug 6, 2008, 10:44
 
I guess I just don't really understand why everyone and his dog is trying to create MMOGs. I realize that the upside, if your game takes off, is huge, but the arena is just so crowded that unless you have the ability to create something utterly compelling and incredible looking, you're just wasting money.

It also seems like there's a much lower potential number of winners in MMOG-space. With traditional single-player games that may have an online multiplayer aspect, I may buy several of these per year, so maybe 5 to 10 companies make a sale. With MMOGs, there are a lot fewer winners, but their rewards are much bigger. Kinda like the lottery. I think that these little companies should go back to making good single/multiplayer games and quit trying to outdo the big developers in an area where they have very little chance of succeeding. They just end up going broke.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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