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#51 Posted by TheHumanDove (2523 posts) -

@reisz said:

It's surprising how many conflicting opinions showed up about that Skullgirls thing. If you have been part of the financial running of a business it's so easy to see where that money could go. Without that experience I would have been shocked at first as well, though I would likely have done some research before I started commenting about it on the internet.

You realize that people running a business are also looking to make as much 'profit' as possible as well, right? This isn't a mom and pop shop, as much as that article would like to pretend.

#52 Posted by GreggD (4505 posts) -

@sergio said:

@thehumandove said:

@sergio said:

Perhaps the biggest failure of Aliens: Colonial Marines is the amazing lack of females.

I highly doubt it.

Nope. No vaginas made it bomb. It's science

Does that mean the biggest failure of Giant Bomb is the amazing lack of women on staff? Crap. Guess we'll all go to Polygon now.

Welp, I'll bring the bus around.

#53 Posted by PsiKick (12 posts) -


"Aren't you paying them already?"

"Yes."

Actually:

Last June, much of the Skullgirls development team was laid off. This had nothing to do with the game or its sales; Skullgirls’ financial support was simply cut off as a result of a costly legal battle that was strangling our publisher, Autumn Games. These ongoing legal difficulties kept Autumn from being able to continue its support for the game. We always had big plans for Skullgirls, and hoped to keep growing the game and its community with new characters and game updates, but without funding, these plans unfortunately had to wait.

While we’ve been able to continue working on the patch and have recently made progress on the PC version with Autumn’s help, neither of these has been able to pay our extremely talented and dedicated art staff. So, in many ways, this campaign is also a last-ditch effort to keep the Skullgirls team together, working on the game we love so.

Huh, so getting laid off results in not getting paid.

#54 Edited by development (2368 posts) -

As a software engineer trying to scratch a living from freelance scraps and odd-jobs and had to resort to forming his own company because there's no work going locally, that whole Skullgirls ordeal made me sad. $150k is an incredibly small amount of money for the insane amount of work that goes into a modern, high resolution 2D fighting game character, and that's without even touching on game balance. Especially when the developers have families to feed and could easily drop the whole thing and get a job somewhere outside the games industry for a lot more money. As consumers we should be rewarding these people, not attempting to cage them and screaming at them like rabid monkeys when they aren't grinding out content day and night.

Sadly, these kinds of people aren't just ignorant gamers. I have people hounding me every day for "just a small simple app that does... everything in the fucking world" and then balking at the figures I quote them because some moron who couldn't even do the job if he tried quoted them $500 and inevitably fucked it up.

I think it's important that gamers, ones who are as involved as most who frequent these kinds of sites anyway, really should be a bit more educated in this field, but it's also not as easy as it could be. And I think the problem is with both sides, developers hardly ever talk about how much things cost them unlike movie studios, where you can find out the budget of a movie quite readily. Then on the consumer side, it's already difficult enough to battle this creeping wave of self-entitlement and willful ignorance, it doesn't help with bedroom developers pitching supposedly world-changing Kickstarter projects for a couple thousand bucks. It contributes to the problem by skewing peoples already warped view of game development costs.

This is the only thing worth reading in the comments. I'm surprised everyone isn't talking about that ridiculous Far Cry 3 thing feat. McLovin or that WWI trench game.

#55 Posted by ICantBeStopped (406 posts) -

Ostensibly.

#56 Posted by Lurkero (403 posts) -

If fans are going to be pitching in money to PRE-fund a game then they very well damn better know why it costs what it does. Skullgirls has the benefit of being an already known title with a fan base, but other games that have asked for funding have not been as transparent.

#57 Posted by tourgen (4512 posts) -

totally unrelated field, but I've seen budgets for proposal efforts that were around 40k. That's 40k to PROPOSE AND DOCUMENT what you think it would take to do a project, theoretically, sometime in the future. provided your team is awarded the contract.

150k for hand drawn and animated sprites, and fully integrated into the game seems just fine.

#58 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4362 posts) -

ASCII Bob Ross is freaking me the fuck out.

#59 Edited by jiggajoe14 (695 posts) -

That Vaas video just makes me more annoyed about how the game delivered on that character

#60 Edited by Reisz (1507 posts) -

@thehumandove said:

@reisz said:

It's surprising how many conflicting opinions showed up about that Skullgirls thing. If you have been part of the financial running of a business it's so easy to see where that money could go. Without that experience I would have been shocked at first as well, though I would likely have done some research before I started commenting about it on the internet.

You realize that people running a business are also looking to make as much 'profit' as possible as well, right? This isn't a mom and pop shop, as much as that article would like to pretend.

They aren't exactly Activision either. Certainly every business wants to make a profit but I don't see this as price gouging to increase the bottom line. Lab Zero was cobbled together as a refuge for the laid-off dev team at Reverge, as far as studios developing for the major consoles, that's about as "mom and pop" as it gets.

#61 Edited by dvorak (1497 posts) -

Ostensibly.

Yeah this is dumb as hell. Just omit the word, professional writer person! You might as well start adding such favorites as, "at the end of the day" and "for what it's worth". Perhaps "Really, " or "What I'm trying to say is, "

#62 Posted by dvorak (1497 posts) -

If you're going to take time in your writing to actively argue with the internet, you've already lost the argument and you're absolutely wasting your time.

#63 Edited by Bizen247 (32 posts) -

I notice most nerd types who profess intelligence are ignorant in general when it comes to economic and financial matters, not the least of which is the amount of overhead it takes to run a business and actually pay people a decent wage.

Unsurprisingly (at least to me) the same people tend to vote for kooky left wing politics that make no economic sense. Coincidence?

#64 Posted by wemibelec90 (1696 posts) -

I think we could really stand to get more inside information about how games are made. It seems to me like a lot of that stuff is kept secret for reasons I can't begin to comprehend. For example, why isn't there an easily accessible way for us to see how many copies a game has sold? I can't really decide who is more at fault here: the journalists who don't investigate more into this stuff or the game companies that keep it all so hush-hush.

#65 Posted by Soul_Glo (2 posts) -

PLEASE READ THE DEFINITION OF "OSTENSIBLY."

HERE IS HOW IT IS USED PROPERLY.

"YOU ARE, OSTENSIBLY, A JOURNALIST, HOWEVER YOUR GRAMMAR SUGGESTS OTHERWISE."

Seriously, man, come on.

#66 Posted by Kingloo (85 posts) -

I think the people who still balk at the $150k figure even after being shown the breakdown almost have a point. I suspect they are people for whom the addition of one new character to a fighting game that already has a dozen is of minimal value. The more extreme example is SSF4: two new characters to a roster of 30-odd. They see a lot of money spent for a very small result.

The point they aren't quite making is that if it is "so expensive" to produce "so little", maybe there is a flaw in the original premise. As a first time studio, maybe they should have gone the easier route of 3D? Maybe they should have started with something easier to make than a fighting game?

This is certainly why we see dozens of indie platformers with an 8-bit-inspired art style. Yet for small-scale indie developers to survive in the long run, they need to be even more ruthless than the big publishers when it comes to budgets, project scope and the man-hours involved. It may not be your dream game, but you don't have that luxury.

Make the game you can afford to make. Make the game you don't have to kill yourself to make.

#67 Edited by dr_mantas (1908 posts) -

People have no idea how much ANYTHING costs - just as an example television, even crappy television, is expensive.

In fact, any sort of content that requires manpower and ideas is usually hella expensive. Programming, cinema, design, advertisement, you name it.

I have a sneaking suspicion it's teenagers who never had to do any work in their life.

#68 Posted by ripelivejam (4043 posts) -

this makes me curious how much development (considering inflation) used to cost back in the day. considering games are becoming much more like big hollywood blockbusters, i have a feeling it was significantly less back then (even if they did work a lot harder to create what we would consider simpler games today)

#69 Edited by Trilogy (2656 posts) -

The problem with what Dave Lang said on twitter is that it's not really our concern UNTIL we're the ones being asked to fund something. It completely changes the conversation, and I think the whole thing is sort of fascinating. Often times we get angry at publishers for being picky with who they fund, but we don't realize that when it's not your money, it's easy to play "armchair publisher". That's not to say that publishers should just keep funding and pushing for all games to be watered down FPS's, but we should value this whole situation as I think it is a prime example of perspective.

For the record, I lean on the "games cost too much" side, rather than the "they're just trying to scam us!" side of the argument. But like Patrick said, that's sort of a different conversation.

#70 Posted by Mezentius (11 posts) -

I am becoming increasingly dismayed at the attitude some self-identifying gamers have towards games, particularly indie ones, and how they value their worth. I have seen many projects on Kickstarter for games that have a projected development cycle of six months to a year (and you can comfortably multiply that by at least 1.5 for when it will actually ship) and several full time developers with goals in the low tens of thousands of dollars.

If you don't immediately recoil at that thought, you probably haven't owned or operated a business, been in a position to know what your employer pays to have you as an employee, or had common obligations like a family. Most Kickstarter projects for game development massively undervalue the time and skills of the people involved, and in so doing reinforce the expectation that games just aren't worth very much; certainly not a developer's living wage.

While I am happy that people are so passionate about their creative vision that they are willing to bankrupt themselves to express that vision, independent game development can't subsist forever off of predominantly young men eating ramen and living on borrowed time/money to chase their dream project. Publishers like EA might be "evil" to some gaming enthusiasts, but at least we compensate developers at something approaching market rate. Personally, I'd rather pay enough for games so that the people who make them can have a career developing them rather than feed a dysfunctional cycle of burnout and "starving artist" indie developers.

#71 Posted by konshus (10 posts) -

I've been working in the games industry for over 10 years, and I've never believed that disclosure of costs should be a problem. It doesn't need to be detailed out all the time, but a grand total of the money spent is not a big deal. Obviously, it should be up to the publisher to disclose such information, I don't want some new "trend" or blanket rule to emerge that will ostracize those who don't wish to detail their budgets, but I think the reveal will help the industry rather than harm it.

We know how much our movies cost to make, right? We can easily use the internet to find put the official budget for most films, and often their final box office earnings. We know Avengers cost around $300 million to make and earned over 1 Billion while in the theaters. That's a hefty profit. Will that knowledge stop anyone from seeing the next one? Doubtful.

My personal take is that revealing these costs will help customers understand why the cost of games has risen over the past decade or so, and give more credence to some crowd source funding, rather than the assumption that higher priced ones are always a scam.

I applaud Patrick for writing his article.

#72 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (1119 posts) -

Cliff hit the nail on the head with his remarks about the enthusiast gamer. They are the smallest piece of the pie, but are also the most focal. A significant portion of the enthusiast crowd cannot wrap around their heads' that this industry is about money.

We have had several major publishers use the line "Games as a service" several times in the last few years. They will continue to find ways to generate revenue outside of selling the actual game. Unlike movies and music, games do not have a significant second market. That is why the vast majority of a titles revenues are in the first couple weeks.

Major theatrical releases have DVD, streaming rights, and eventually television deals. Music has single releases, album releases, streaming, and eventually the rights can be sold for commercials and movies.

Gaming has the day of release, and now downloadable content, that's it. These publishers need to maximize their dollar amount any way possible.

#73 Posted by CornBREDX (5347 posts) -

The Aliens Colonial Marines thing was basically what I suspected. Console compromises and also a little bit mediocrity (as there's really no reason they couldn't make it look better, they just didn't know how to and due to the split development didn't have enough focus or time to make it right).

Good reads as usual.

#74 Edited by KogX (13 posts) -

I'm sad that the response to how massive the 150k is for just something that is on the level of DLC. But even if it is just 10 people, 150k would be below minimum wage for a year if the money is just for wages. It is easy to criticize "evil" publishers but looking at numbers like that, I am not surprised that many do the things that they do.

Also why should the consumers care? If we just see a DLC for Skullgirls that is $5 for a character many would scream that it is greed but that is just a simple answer we all go to when we refuse to accept the extreme complexity of business and the industry.

It is sad that many people are reacting that way but we can't change that.

#75 Posted by Capasso (44 posts) -

One thing you have to realize when you decide to try a crowdfunding system for any kind of product, especially one as hard to grasp as software, games included, is that there will be people who will gladly accept the values proposed and take it as a step to have, hopefully in a timely manner, something in return. On the other hand you'll have those that will scrutinize the values, the staff qualifications, try to gauge how successful the product might be, it's team dedication, anything really, to convince themselves, and possibly other on the fence, that this is or isn't a good investment.

Personally I think that's fine, some accountability on how you're intending to spend my (potential) money on your product is only fair. The problem comes with all the cynic, accusatory and discrediting wording that invariably emerges and engulfs most attempts at a more serious discussion about those things. Particularly on the previous article about Skullgirls I made a couple observations about the values that were readily answered by one of the members of the development team, and that's how I think this ideally should go: if you want to be transparent about your project and it's costs, be ready to answer some, maybe to you, dumb questions and that hopefully will garner you some positive feedback. In my case I'm still debating on donating or not, but only because I don't know if I'll have the funds to do so yet; the Skullgirls team convinced me it's a good cause for a good game.

Now, if you're not dependent on crowdfunding you can be as coy as you want with your money, as long the final product isn't complete garbage and forces us to ponder if something happened along the way.

On a somewhat related note, an interesting and recent video of a panel the Skullgirls team did right before the indiegogo campaign started. They talk about development, office politics, stress and the crazy amount of work needed to make a 2D character come to life:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShC1o2SwkkI

#76 Posted by Capt_Ventris (594 posts) -

"McLovin is here He is HERE!"
This almost feels like a better use of Vass then in Far Cry 3 itself

#77 Posted by A_Pretty_Panda (26 posts) -

@i_smell said:

We all know it's a bunch of jaded, elitist, uninformed, belligerant dudes with anime avatars sharing snarky asshole .gifs and image macros, and it's been that since forever... it makes about as much sense as judging "public opinion" on youtube comments or Reddit posts, or 4chan threads.

or giantbomb.com article comments

#78 Posted by wrathofconn (1463 posts) -

Yay Grubby!

#79 Posted by CJduke (790 posts) -

We actually watched that programming video in my programming class this week! Pretty awesome video

#80 Posted by Thevamp25 (231 posts) -

Surprised to see an Ashens video.

#81 Posted by BonzoPongo (111 posts) -

The skullgirls pricing seems perfectly reasonable and people are interested in that side of games.

I think where they draw the line is giving any sympathy for costs when some big publisher farts out a day one dlc, microtransaction riddled, by the numbers shitfest.

#82 Posted by patrick (563 posts) -

Nice summary Tricky, that neogaf thread was the most frustrating thing to read, pretty sure it started out as the worst GAF thread in history but I'm glad some real devs decided to correct the ignorance in the end.

Excellent editorial by Patrick Klepek over at Giant Bomb:

http://www.giantbomb.com/articles/th...uld/1100-4587/

Woo, burn on Patrick!

#83 Posted by SpaceJamLunchbox (127 posts) -

Thanks, Patrick! That Code.org video was just what I needed right now!

#84 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4824 posts) -

People have no idea how much ANYTHING costs - just as an example television, even crappy television, is expensive.

In fact, any sort of content that requires manpower and ideas is usually hella expensive. Programming, cinema, design, advertisement, you name it.

I have a sneaking suspicion it's teenagers who never had to do any work in their life.

Or it's the vast majority of the work force who show up, do their job, get paid and go home. Only the bean counters and financial analysts really know about this shit in depth. Most people, even the majority on this site, don't know what goes into running a business because they're employed by other people.

I'm not saying it's excusable, just that you should treat ignorance with education and not snide comments meant to denigrate a person's intelligence for no discernible reason other than it made you feel good.

#85 Posted by tydigame (85 posts) -

Huge applause for the courage to post something about transphobia in a place where most people won't know what you mean.

#86 Posted by triple07 (1196 posts) -

After playing Bombermine I have once again realized I don't like playing classic bomberman in pretty much any scenario. Now Bomberman 64 on the other hand...

Also with regards to the embargo thing with the new assassin's creed, I'm with game publishers and developers on this one. If they ask you not to talk about it until a certain date then I think you should keep your word regardless of some information leaking out. Maybe its because I don't care very much about game rumors and all that stuff but I'd personally rather see the game when most of the story can be heard. Plus I only go to a handful of sites for news and seeing some leaked info isn't going to make me visit those sites.

#87 Edited by ripelivejam (4043 posts) -

@triple07 said:

After playing Bombermine I have once again realized I don't like playing classic bomberman in pretty much any scenario. Now Bomberman 64 on the other hand...

hey i liked bomberman 64 too but wtf

#88 Edited by medacris (662 posts) -

Yessss. I love Dr. Ashen's YouTube channel. His POP Station and reject action figure reviews are the best.

I'm agreeing with some of the comments on the Skullgirls debate, both the ones calling for more economics lessons/people to do their research, and an honest breakdown of exactly what said money will be used for. I think when people realize just how much work voice acting and animation (especially the fluid animation Skullgirls is known for) is, they'll be more sympathetic to the cost. Besides, don't companies like Activision spend more on their advertising alone than the entire production + DLC cost of Skullgirls?

#89 Posted by sirdesmond (1241 posts) -

@i_smell said:

I legitemately don't know why people like Patrick always check out what this vBulletin message-board at Neogaf dot com think of their stuff.

We all know it's a bunch of jaded, elitist, uninformed, belligerant dudes with anime avatars sharing snarky asshole .gifs and image macros, and it's been that since forever... it makes about as much sense as judging "public opinion" on youtube comments or Reddit posts, or 4chan threads.

It's 2013: we don't care about screenshot galleries, or system-wars, or decimal points in a review score any more. Patrick- and a lot of other people- are writing stuff that's a lot more interesting than that old shit, so why am I still hearing "NeoGaf" pop up so much? Just leave it in the dust, guys!

My thoughts exactly. I have seen 1000 crappy threads for every single one out of NeoGaf. Games Industry people need to leave it be and just let it die.

#90 Edited by EthanML (455 posts) -

GRUBBY IN MY GIANT BOMBS. MIND = BLOWN

#91 Edited by Ravelle (1292 posts) -

As a fellow Dutch person I recognized Grubby's dutch accent behind his English,. :p

#92 Edited by Crazy_Ebot (1 posts) -

That Farcry video? About 5% was funny, the rest was torture porn with a splash of misogyny. Not that I expect anyone else to care, but I wish people didn't make shit like that.

#93 Posted by fisk0 (4164 posts) -

"I don't get those prices at all. Pretty sure I could design, model, rig, animate, do a theme song, record some grunts and do testing for single character in a year, even if I had to do a lot of learning along the way, and 150k is more than I could ever dream of making in even a year."

I think one issue here is that on one level that commenter is totally right. He could probably make a character in a year, using less money, but when it is to be used in a professional looking game, it also needs to be consistent with the style of the other characters, and still stand out among them. Having the modeler/animator record some "grunts" probably wouldn't do it, even simple voice clips like that usually needs an actual experienced voice actor and sound engineer, as evidenced by the numerous zero budget fighting games on Newgrounds and stuff like Dong Dong Never Die.

While I love the DIY scene, I think there's a massive disconnect even between that and the commercial indie developers.

#94 Edited by Pop (2636 posts) -

I forgot Grubby was a WC3 player.

That skullgirls thing, I didn't want to comment about the money in the original post cause I don't have any idea what stuff costs, it probably takes a lot of work to add a fighting game character more than other characters in other games cause of the balance.

Oh the coding video was pretty good, I think I wanna try to learn to code again, didn't get very far before.

#95 Posted by Brodehouse (9965 posts) -

It really bums me out that Patrick and Brad are more interested in what GAF has to say than their own site.

Wait, so the big problem with Aliens Colonial Marines isn't that it's poorly made, or the mechanics are sloppy, or its just really uninspired... the problem isn't even that there's no women in it, since there are... the problem is is that earlier in development there were no women in it. Nevermind how it actually shipped, the problem is that at some point in the development process the game industry's new quota hadn't been met.

#96 Posted by PerfidiousSinn (749 posts) -

"Sometimes confused" is a much nicer description than most NeoGAF users deserve.

#97 Posted by RustySanderke (117 posts) -

You are not the average player, you are someone who, ostensibly, has a huge interest in knowing more about how the sausage is made, and that does inform how you play and buy.

@patrickklepek Are you implying we're faking our interest?

#98 Posted by a_beluga_whale (80 posts) -

I'm not at all surprised by how much it costs to make 1 character in a game, but I'm also not terribly interested in funding the development of games or, in this case, characters myself.

If your company can't exist without charitable donation from fans, then turn your company into a non-profit or something. Don't ask your fans for money to make the game and then try to turn a profit off it anyway. As someone who works in the non-profit world, this seems incredibly disingenuous to me for some reason. I know that they're being perfectly transparent about it and, as I said before, I understand the costs, but asking regular folks who like indie games to pay those costs because you've got an unsustainable business model seems totally backwards to me.

#99 Posted by Tomorrowman (152 posts) -

I think Far Cry clip was pretty relevant considering a theme of criticism pointed at Far Cry and Tomb Raider was how quickly the characters turned from crying to killing.

#100 Posted by Chemin (632 posts) -

Back to Bed seems really cool.