[Community Input Required] Independently Developed Games

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Blaqk, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. Blaqk
    • Development Team
    • Webmaster/Liaison

    Blaqk NOTD Staff: Bugs, Pugs, and Scruggs

    DISCLAIMER

    I'm a notoriously wordy person so I'll try to be brief this time. If there is a paragraph that you wish me to condense please say so. This study is carried out solely by me. No, I'm not going to make a game, I don't have the patience.

    [hr]

    Intro

    Let's assume you all found this hypothetical game that you're dying to play. It is an online, multiplayer, cooperative game developed by a small team on a tight budget. You found it during mid-beta stage and realize that there is still work to be done, work that can only be done with funding.

    Please answer all questions.

    [hr]

    Question 1 - Attractiveness

    Assume the team developing this game at the time you find it is comprised of fewer than five people. How does this affect your opinion of the product?

    -Are you concerned the game's longevity might be cut short if developers lose interest?

    -Are you more interested in the game because the small team allows greater creative freedom.

    -Are you wary of the game as fewer developers may mean less content.

    -etc

    [hr]

    Question 2 - Pricing

    Ideally, everything would be free, but this is simply not the case. Most game engines and dev kits will run the gauntlet of $1,000 to $5,000 for their use. Servers aren't cheap either and, unless you have Blaqk, websites aren't free. Which of these would you prefer?

    1) Sizeable one-time fee to purchase the client and free-to-play
    Example: $50 client cost, $0 monthly fee

    2) Free client but a reasonable monthly fee
    Example: $0 client cost, $7.99 monthly fee

    3) Reasonable client cost and small monthly fee
    Example: $20 client cost, $3.99 monthly fee

    4) Free client and free-to-play but offer premium features at a cost
    "Freemium"

    5) Shut up, I have my own opinion. (Fine, state it.)
    Example: Oh Blaqk, you are the greatest person ever.

    [hr]

    Question 3 - Development Stage

    At what stage would you be willing to try the game? Let's assume you applied to join the private beta and were accepted. Would you play it? Would you play an open beta? Why or why not?

    In addendum, betas aren't free to host either. Would you pay a teeny beta fee ($5 one-time fee)? If it were free, would you donate to the cause? If so, how much?

    [hr]

    Question 4 - Demonstration Clients

    This time we'll assume the game is out of beta, but they opted for price scheme #3. The game will cost you $20 up front for the client and then $3.99/mo (first month free, obviously) to play. Would you be willing to take the leap-of-faith required to drop that kind of money?

    Would the option of being able to play a limited version of the game free for seven days help sway your purchase decision? Why or why not?

    [hr]

    Question 5 - Forever Alone

    Oh boy! You done gone and made all of your friends mad at you. Our hypothetical game is designed to be a cooperative game. Would you like the option to have a balanced, offline single-player option as well? Here's the catch, your offline progress is separate from your online progress. How important is a single-player experience to you? Assuming price scheme #1 or #3 was used, what if you could play offline without the monthly fee? Would it be more attractive then?

    [hr]

    Question 6 - The Catch-all

    At this point, I've run out of both Doritos and questions. Is there anything else that would sway you towards or against an independently developed game? If so, give lots of details. I eat words for breakfast and it's right at 3am here so it's breakfast time.
  2. Lord NiteShade
    • Wiki Founder
    • Community Leader

    Lord NiteShade NOTD Staff: Wiki Founder/TeamSpeak Admin

    If you're referring to NOTD going indie, no dice.

    Question 1 - Attractiveness

    Small teams work, but only if they have tight cohesion and can all pull their load. It's easier to fall behind when your chain has fewer links. It seems common for small teams for a few members to lose interest or jump ship and leave the rest high and dry with too much work load and not enough time.

    Question 2 - Pricing

    Only thing I'd pay a months fee for is an online service (ie, some kind of membership, such as premium internet radio or an MMORPG). With untested products I'd way about them going Hellgate London. Collecting all the subscription money and then going under.

    Question 3 - Development Stage

    I would play any form of beta, provided its free. Nothing is more of a turn off to customers like "pay for something not finished." As far as I'm concerned a beta is just a glorified demo that helps the final stages of development.


    Question 4 - Demonstration Clients

    No, I specifically avoid pricing schemes like this. Too many small time projects go under, after they've made sure to collect all their subscription money. A one time payment for the full release should be all thats every required of a customer.

    Question 5 - Forever Alone

    If a game is primarily multiplayer focused (such as a shooter) then players should not hold their breath for a well adapted single player. The exception is a short, but polished campaign mode, or a wave survival mode. If the game is more cooperative than competitive, I see no reason not to balance out single player as well.

    Question 6 - The Catch-all

    Community involvement on behalf of the developers. Nothing is a bigger turn off than a dead community, or a game where the developers are so distanced from their community it creates tension and strife.
  3. Blaqk
    • Development Team
    • Webmaster/Liaison

    Blaqk NOTD Staff: Bugs, Pugs, and Scruggs

    I'm not, hooker.
  4. Shooz
    • Donator

    Shooz NOTD Staff: Killjoy

    I don't trust anything you do as hypothetical or a simple question.. I've known you far too long for that Blaqk. What is your real aim for this information?
  5. Blaqk
    • Development Team
    • Webmaster/Liaison

    Blaqk NOTD Staff: Bugs, Pugs, and Scruggs

    In all honesty, the only questions I care about are 2 and 4. The information from the others is helpful, but I can pretty much guess all of your opinions of those based on your personalities. I could almost make a drinking game out of it.

    For now this is just for my own knowledge. I promise it wont come to harm any of you. :)
  6. Ramses II
    • Donator

    Ramses II Help, I can't change my title!

    Well in that case I would go with option 4 for question 2 and I wouldn't answer question 4 because I'm strictly against anything that isn't a very good thing (for example a gym membership) that makes you pay a monthly fee, as it makes you feel as though you have to play a lot each month to get your money out of it.

    I guess I'll answer the other ones just because I'm kinda bored atm. 1: I like small dev teams because I think they're generally more in touch with the community, and also more willing to work with a specific player who's having a problem. Larger organizations are more likely to be interested in "the greater good" of the player-base, less willing to adapt, etc. If a small dev team drops out I'll just find another decent game with a small dev team that's very involved with the community and play that instead.

    I would not pay for private alpha testing, private beta testing, or public beta testing, under any conditions. I pay for that by actively posting bugs, issues, and ideas for how it can be improved.

    A game should be either designed for single player or multiplayer. Not both. Trying to cover both (especially in a smaller operation) just means neither will be done very well.

    Agree with nite that the most important thing is an active community and the dev team being involved, listening to the community's ideas rather than thier own, as the community are the ones who actually play it, and play it a lot more than the dev team. Also, I like dev teams who play regularly. And communicate what they're going to do before they do it.

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