Read what you quoted again. He wasn't arguing technical superiority. He was indicating that DVD-type technology is cheap and ubiquitous, and therefore is still a dominant force in the market. It's like saying McDonalds is "kicking butt" because it's cheap, consistent and is of a reasonable quality, and thus is vastly popular. No one is arguing that they serve a superior meal to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.
Well, Slashdot is not exactly the most friendly of communities, to be honest, and they're not really gaming-focused. I think you'd find a much more receptive attitude on indie and amateur-focused gaming web sites. Maybe gamedev.net?
After all, I've been in the game industry 15 years, and I just started my own company to make my own games. I figure if I can do it, so can others. However, these things don't just happen by themselves. You have to be willing to take some action to make it happen.
From what I've seen, there will likely be avenues open for indie developers on consoles. One thing to keep in mind that people tend to be much more enthusiastic about a product they can quickly grab and demo (like on a PC). So, I don't think it's ever a waste of time to get a game finished on the PC first before porting to other platforms. It's the platform with the least development friction, so it's a pretty good place to get started.
That aside, if your game doesn't fit your current development platform, you could always consider re-designing or re-imagining it. Consoles, PCs, and phones/tablets all require drastically different interfaces due to their strengths and weaknesses.
BTW, if Value starts selling SteamOS boxes, you'll probably see many more PCs hooked up to TVs. If you're actually selling a PC game to take advantage of this, it could be a great advantage in a niche market. Remember, if you're an indie developer, you don't have to sell millions of games to be successful.
Plus, PC gaming is being described as "dying" each and every console cycle. It never has. It may not have the size and scope of consoles, but unlike them, it endures beyond any overlord's whims.
Exactly. Tech reporters (who continuously fawn of the latest and greatest gizmos) notice that "sales of new PCs are falling rapidly", while "phone and tablet sales are growing each year", and thus conclude that PCs are "dying" and that smartphones are going to replace them. Smartphones will likely replace a PC for the type of user who just wants to check the occasional e-mail and browse the web a bit while waiting for the bus. In other words, they're great for people who will only *consume* light content.
Most everyone who wants a PC (or laptop) has one already, and they're so insanely powerful we can hang onto them for a good half-decade or so now before replacing them, unlike the 1 or 2 year upgrade cycle of a decade ago. PCs excel at *creating* content, so people who are writing, painting, coding, designing, etc will still be buying PCs for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, the smartphone and tablet markets are in a growth period while the market expands and the technology matures. And these new smartphone owners suddenly discover they can play games on these phones! Woo! Another growth market. What do we think will happen when the market for phones and tablets become saturated? Well, they'll drop off just like PC sales are now - essentially going into a "occasional new buyer and replacement" rate instead.
I had the same reaction when pundits and tech writers declared that we'd probably only see one more generation of console ever, because smartphones were the hot new bling, and everyone has one, so why would anyone need a console anymore? The answer is the same as why the PC will never die out: Because consoles and PCs can easily do specific things much better than a smartphone can. Consoles excel at *consuming entertainment content* - far better than any other platform. I don't see the entertainment market dying out anytime in the near future, so I suspect consoles will also be with us for a while.
PC: Type lots of text very quickly.
PC: Precision input with mouse or pointer
PC: Complex content creation of nearly any sort
PC: Open development platforms and distribution / zero or low-cost development
Console: High-end visuals and audio for immersive gaming and entertainment experience
Console: Grab and play gaming - few compatibility issues.
Console: Great for party games or multi-user gaming
Console: Standardized game-optimized input and accessories.
Smartphone: Ultimate in portability
Smartphone: Simple usability with touch interface
Smartphone: Location aware
PCs, consoles, smartphones and tablets will all likely be with us for some time to come, because they all have different strengths and weaknesses.
These developers you speak of are absolutely free to quit their secure jobs, go start a company, develop their own games
Provided Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony will let them. It's especially hard for someone just breaking into the industry to go the startup route, as Robert Pelloni demonstrated with Bob's Game.
In my opinion, a developer just breaking into the industry probably shouldn't go the startup route, unless you're willing to complete the game first on your own time. That way, it's zero risk as you learn the ropes. You learn a lot of very valuable lessons on someone else's dime by working for an established company. I worked 15 years in the industry before striking out on my own last year, and all the lessons I've learned by working on very large projects have significantly improved how I develop my own very small projects.
Also, starting up a company nowadays has nothing to do with "if Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony will let them." I don't recall asking any of those companies' permission before filing my LLC application. Still, I know what you meant, I think... You don't create a startup and immediately get published on the big three consoles - unless you've sold your rights, profits, and soul to a big publisher in exchange for a large wad of cash. But there are plenty of alternative distribution methods. PC is a hot market for indie games, with plenty of digital distribution options (despite the continuous "death of the PC matra"). You can make games for Facebook, or iOs/Android phones and tablets for very small investments as well.
Additionally, the big three consoles are demonstrating their willingness to embrace indie developers as well. If you have a moderately successful game already developed for PC or mobile, it works in your favor when trying to get the game ported to a console (less risk for all involved, and much easier for everyone to visualize the final product).
These developers you speak of are absolutely free to quit their secure jobs, go start a company, develop their own games and keep all the profits. They don't, of course, and that's why they don't get to show up with a cup in their hand when their company's 'AAA' hits it big.
Exactly right. And yeah, I've actually done just that. My last game took 5+ years with a dev team of over 200 on average. My new company is just me, building a game over the next two years, living off my savings. No matter how the AAA game I worked on did (except for some bonuses), it made no real difference to me, except for continued employment. I earned good money, but I certainly was never going to become rich off that salary. With my own company, I take all the risk but keep all the rewards.
All in all, I think it's a pretty fair system. You can either choose the relative security and stability of working for someone else, or you can embark on a high-risk operation of funding your own games, and with it get all the potential rewards.
In general, I think money is overrated as a motivator anyhow. I earned a healthy salary at my last job, but I really enjoyed the reasonable hours and friendly atmosphere of the company. The reason I started my own company was not because I dreamed of getting rich, but because I wanted to make my own games - chart my own future, so to speak. I figure I've got a 50/50 chance at best of even earning enough to finance my second game, but I figure I'd rather regret something I did than something I didn't.
Thanks for an entertaining and informative post!
You may also find it interesting that the artists at the game company I worked at had to work very hard to come up with good shaders that could make darker / black skin show up and look right. It's not just a matter of changing the RGB constants - humans are very perceptive when it comes to faces and skin coloration, and can tell when things "just look wrong", even if they don't precisely know what's wrong. I never learned all the details of what they had to do to get things looking right, but I'd imagine some of the technical challenges were somewhat analogous to the challenges in film you described, only they just happened to be constrained to a real-time digital world.
I find it amazing that you freely admit you're motivated by the desire to produce meaningless academic tripe that nobody else wants and to get paid for it (by taxpayers, right?), all while disparaging the work that others do (which people are willing to pay money for) as having "absolutely no utility", and therefore my motivations are irrelevant. Enjoy your ivory tower, and please, stay there.
The real question we should ask is "What is the social benefit of Nintendo keeping it's copyrights vs. the social loss of restring access to it's work ?"
Nintendo budgeted it's Mario development program so as to fully recoup it's costs in a few years of the console market and make a profit, which it did spectacularly well. So anyone looking to do the same can try, with full confidence that copyright will ensure their profitability. On the other hand, very few entities make business and creative decisions based on what will happen 70 years into the future.
Such long terms are not socially beneficial (because they don't induce more works to be created) but they are socially detrimental because they impede the free use of citizens own property, require public resources to enforce and deprive the public of a work that would have been in the public domain should copyright not existed.
So instead of an utilitarian compromise, "let's set copyrights just as long/short as necessary to maximize societal gain" we've ended up with this ludicrous "god given property right to profit indefinitely from your own ideas" which never existed throughout history and is actually harmful.
Here's the problem with your argument. For every megahit like Mario, there are hundreds of games which sold anywhere from pretty good to downright awful. It's the profits from the hits that cover the losses from the failures. You can't just look at a single game on its own and claimed "Ok, you've made enough money, so now we take that away from you".
Speaking from my own experience in the game development world (I'm a professional game programmer), the better the financial situation of the company, the more creative freedom the individual developers had. In companies where we were just barely making a profit, we were always up against tight publisher deadlines and really never had the time to innovate. In other, much more successful companies, we were largely given a free hand to come up with cool ideas for the games, because there wasn't so much financial pressure to kick the game out the door in such a hurry.
Granted, small sampling and anecdotal evidence, etc, and there were other significant differences between the companies' management teams, but I still think that financial success can be much more liberating in terms of creative freedom.
But why should you??? There is no silver lining to copyright. Its intentions aside, there is absolutely no proof
that it spurs innovation or creativity, whichever industry you look in, whatever the term, and however you quantify
the goods. And economists looked into this
many times by now. So our best economics research tells us that the ONLY perceptible effect of copyright is censorship,
which is a BREAK on creativity and innovation, and an infringement on our rights as humans, as outlined in the UDHR.
Could you clarify exactly what you mean? Are you suggesting that copyright be abolished? That is, if I released a new videogame, there would be no legal mechanism to prevent anyone from copying it across the net for free, or even selling it themselves? Sorry, just trying to understand where you're coming from.
I'll say this as an independent game developer who's currently living off my savings while developing new game and a new company: There's no way I'd spend two full years with zero income developing a new game if I knew it wasn't going to be protected with copyright and trademark law. I'm taking a huge financial risk with many years worth of my life savings. It's all going into a product which can be copied and downloaded quite easily (I won't use DRM), and I accept that. But at the very least, I'd like the government to acknowledge that I have an exclusive right to sell and distribute copies of my game to try to earn a living from my labors.
BTW, I do think software patents are absurd and need to be abolished. But I can't see how authors retaining control over their works is a bad thing for creativity. Like it or not, self-interest is a powerful motivator that shouldn't be dismissed.
It's not primarily game design which is driving the remakes. It's IP - Intellectual Properties. Brand recognition. THAT's what those games are capitalizing on. The gameplay (and designs) are completely different from game to game.
Apparently, about the time you stopped coding in C++ was the time I started professional C++ development (I'd been teaching myself for a few years before that).
You should take a look at what C++ 11 can do for C++ code. It's rather dramatic. Nowadays, I almost never use raw pointers or call new or delete, and follow RAII practices. Result? Memory management is nearly automatic (it feels almost like garbage collection), and leaks are pretty much forgotten. The class with an actual destructor in it is fairly rare in my codebase, since everything automatically cleans up after itself. It almost feels like coding in C#, just with nastier syntax.
Honestly, I'm enjoying working with C++ more than I ever have in my life. A lot of the tedium is gone, but the raw power and performance still remain. Also, with some real competition in the compiler space, Microsoft finally understands the importance of full compliance - they've announced that they're planning full C++11/14 compliance as an official goal. Here's hoping they'll stick to it, but they seems to be doing a reasonable job so far.
Windows 8 will succeed on tablet devices or those double sided laptops they advertise. It's faster than 7. No doubt 7 is a great product, 8 is looking forward to occupy touch screen interface niche where MS is lacking in presence.
Perhaps, but at the expense of their desktop OS? I know I'm going to be sticking with 7 until I'm not forced to deal with the Metro interface on my desktop machine. Metro actually seems pretty slick for tablets and phones, but it's absolutely ridiculous on a desktop machine without a touch interface.
Funny you mention that. I had told a colleague the other day that I predict this will be the same as Active Desktop. People will just want to turn it off / get it the hell out of the way so they can get some actual work done with their PCs. Unfortunately, it's going to be another set of APIs in Windows that will have to be maintained forever, and will turn the OS a bit schizophrenic in terms of it's presentation.
I'm actually really happy with Windows 7 - I really like the way it looks and performs. So, I don't think it's a matter of me simply not liking change, I think. I just can't see any use for this Metro stuff on a desktop. Sure, it makes perfect sense on tablets, but why try to pretend it's useful in situations where it obviously won't be?
Meh. I just don't get this at all.
Nature has absolutely no compunction about killing humans in large quantities regardless of whether we want to live with her or not. It seems like people who talk about "natural balance" perhaps don't consider (or don't care about) the fact that towns now exist in flood plains. While it's really nice in a 20/20 hindsight sort of way to say "well, you shouldn't have build your town there", it's not really practical to just pick up and move entire cities to the hills (which, btw, are subject to other "natural" catastrophes). You say damning rivers has negative consequences, but our entire civilization hinges on consuming large amounts of electricity. Unless you're willing to chuck it all (and some people are), there's no cleaner and safer way to produce large amounts of power.
The fact is, we're still learning as we go, and getting better at that sort of large-scale engineering. As per your example - you talk about forest fires like no one else has learned the lesson that minor, controlled burns are essential to the ecology. Allowing smaller, more frequent burns are now standard practice in many places (I'd guess except near populated areas). It's much harder to create massive environmentally-altering projects exactly because of all the lessons we've learned. And the fact is, we've certainly learned hard lessons about letting people and companies dump crap into rivers and lakes. There might be some holdout areas, but at least around where I live, there have been great improvements in water quality over the past few decades.
All that being said, this sounds pretty damn risky to me. The larger the potential affect, the more conservative we should be in what we're willing to risk.
At 7.76GB installed, that's one helluva a "dumb" MMO client. You are right of course, I'm just throwing that out there for everyone ponder. Video and music take up space, sure. But is there really that much texture data?
Executable code is tiny by comparison. All that data is textures, models, animation, and audio (sound effects, voice, and music). So, no, there's nothing to ponder, really.