Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

25 March, 2005

Unionized developers?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:16 PM

Recently, Slashdot Games had a link to a Gamasutra article entitled “Unionize Now?” Given the furor about indie development these days, a bit of thought on this side of the coin might be worthwhile.
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17 March, 2005

Game toolkits
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:08 PM

Just saw this on Slashdot Games: Three Rings Design , makers of Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates has just released open source versions of their game-making toolkits at http://www.gamegardens.com/. (Yes, this sentence needs more hyperlinks, I know.)

Anyway, I haven’t looked at it in depth, but the concept is pretty cool. Assuming that you have most of the technical bits needed to make a game, this is a good thing. Looks like they’re even providing free hosting for games.

It’s also noteworthy that PopCap, makers of that timestealer Bejeweled, released their own framework for making games. Again, a great step towards helping games get developed.

And since I’m mentioning everyone, I recommend that people check out GarageGames and the cool Torque engine. For people that need a great graphics engine for their genre-defying future projects.

14 March, 2005

Being an indie sucks: what can we do about it?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:23 AM

Greg Costikyan posted his notes of his GDC rant. I appreciated the rant, but I felt it was not really accomplishing anything. In a comment, I said:

In the end, we need to do something. Sitting around doesn’t do it. Even starving for our art isn’t doing it. The publishers have money, and as they say, “Money talks, bullshit walks.” I appreciate the honesty it takes to rant in a public forum like that, but let’s face it: a rant is just so much bullshit put into words.

Greg then posted a followup entry where he took my rant to heart and actually offered suggestions. So, now it’s time for me to put up my own thoughts or shut up.
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13 March, 2005

GDC recap
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:31 AM

Another GDC has come and gone. So, after a bit of sleep I’m posting some thoughts.
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9 March, 2005

Marks and Smarts
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:50 PM

On the now defunct Waterthread.org forums, one person mentioned the concept of “marks and smarts” in professional wrestling. (That link is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in how entertainment shapes culture.) Unfortunately, the forums are long gone as far as I know, and I can’t give proper attribution. If anyone remembers who posted this, feel free to comment in the comments below.

Briefly, marks are people that believe pro wrestling is real. Smarts are people that know it’s fake, but that enjoy it show anyway. How does this relate to online games? Glad you asked.
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4 March, 2005

Successful failure?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:08 AM

There’s been a fair amount of discussion going on about failure in games, starting with an article over at Terra Nova asking why we don’t have failure in our games. Damion Schubert then penned a followup entry in his blog.

I figured I’d say a bit about the topic as well, since I’ve already expressed an opinion on the topic in the comments of the Terra Nova article above.
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2 March, 2005

GDC next week
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:26 PM

I’m heading to the GDC next week. Ick.

Anyway, I’ll be hanging around talking with friends and colleagues. So, if you see a long hair bearded type that isn’t a Terra Nova author, feel free to say “Hi!” Just don’t beat me over the head and look for pocket change, you’ll be disappointed. Plus I’ll have minions that will get a cheap kill if you do. ;)
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1 March, 2005

How profitable?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:44 AM

I recently posted in a thread on Slashdot about how profitable online games are. Being Linux cheapskates, some vocal people on Slashdot think that online games should be free. Of course, I feel obligated to post and explain how it’s wrong to say “800k x $15/month = OMG BLIZZARD ASSRAPZOR MY WALLET!”

The link to my Slashdot post discussing theoretical costs of online game development.

The summary is probably the most interesting for readers of this blog:

Is running a large-scale online game profitable? Sure, I’m not saying it’s not. But, it’s not going to be as profitable as your incomplete estimation says it is going to be. What is Blizzard’s likely yearly profit? From an old article about EQ (link goes to an archive), it was claimed that Sony enjoyed 40% profit margins from EQ. Realize that this is once it was mature. Taking the average of 500k players [from Dave Rickey's estimates] and assuming everyone pays $15/month, we arrive at a yearly profit of $36 million. Not bad for a game, but quite a bit short of the outrageous figure ["$159,000,000 of pure profit!"] you figured.

EDIT: Changed URL to the article to point to the Wayback Machine, since old article link didn’t work anymore.

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