The state of videogames

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by Akratus, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. Muff

    Muff Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    May 5, 2006
    I think I saw a thing about it being sold in 2010 but I could be wrong.

    As I said I would kill for reboot of that franchise, I spend days playing that game.
  2. CthuluIsSpy

    CthuluIsSpy A Smooth-Skin

    Dec 20, 2011
    I think you mean Descent. You are talking about the old 6 degrees of freedom shooter, right? The one with the space ship?
  3. fred2

    fred2 Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 2, 2013
    I loved Descent, it was new and exciting when it came out, but without the nostalgia goggles, the only Descent game that stands out for me is FreeSpace.
  4. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
    Yeah, a good Descent would be cool.
    Apparently, Volition used some parts of the canceled Descent 4 in Red Faction, btw.
  5. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    Yeah, I got the grammar mixed up when the other poster thoughts I meant 'Descent' with 'decent'.

    I never played Descent 1 and 2 but I did play Descent 3 (the loathed one) and I rather liked it.
  6. mobucks

    mobucks i get such a kick out of myself Orderite

    May 22, 2010
    My cousin vinny (haha great movie) posted this on FB. Apt for this discussion I think.

    [spoiler:f7afb3ae8a]Picked up some xbox360 games for Eric and his cousins to play over Thanksgiving. Microsoft changed their security policy, so before playing we had to have the xbox email a code, go to a computer to validate that, then send a text to a phone for two-form authentication (Connor was using that phone so we had a small autism protest). Then, when that was done, share some of that info with xbox.

    Then we tried to play Battlefield 4 multiplayer - well, that requires an ID and Password from Electronic Arts - which we don't have. So we switched to Assassin's Creed and YouPlay required an ID and password.

    DAMMIT! Does every company require credentials? I just want my kid to be able to stick in a disk and play a game...... These people suck.[/spoiler:f7afb3ae8a]
  7. fred2

    fred2 Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 2, 2013
    When was the last time you tried to sign up for google mail, facebook or any popular service? sms validation option is pretty much standard today(you do it once and forget). As for ID/passwords how different it is from good ol' cdkeys and how better it is from the securerom crap that fucked up your PC? I also recall a time when we had to swipe cds endlessly, and maintain the cd collection like they were gold bars(its about the time I started using no cd patches for every game I bought)

    I don't know about the rest, but to me Gaming has become much easier/cheaper now days with services like steam.
  8. naossano

    naossano So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 19, 2006
    The no mutant allowed community general hope is that the Fallout franchise regain his identity, but that post reminded me of the thread about the state of videogames in which i didn't have chances to answer.

    The problem with Fallout 3 is the same problem as the elder scroll and other series, the dumbing down process (shown in a video in the skyrim thread) of video games franchise to appeal a larger audience.

    I recently read a news from Deep Silver, the new publisher of the Metro franchise, since THQ was closed.
    They announced that they wanted to make new Metro games, but are thinking about some changes that would appeal a broader audience.
    In my opinion, Metro Last Light has already made many changes to appeal a larger audience compared to Metro 2033. As a result, the game feels far less unique that Metro 2033 was.

    They notably tried to appeal many people that complained about metro 2033. Fortunatly for the Metro franchise, the author of the book is still involved in the franchise. Also, i think that Last Light is quite good on its own, and there is nothing bad in considering some improvements.

    But in the end, as good as Metro Last Light could be, it doesn't feel unique anymore. They lost what made me stop at Metro 2033 and say "Shit, there is no chance i would see that in any other games". It made me consider, if Last Light was the only game that was released, withouth much advertizing, would have enjoyed that game as much as 2033 ? Would have it kept me interested in playing other games of the series ? Basically, even if i enjoy Last Light, the main reason i go for it is in the hope of finding moments that were so unique in Metro 2033. They are quite rare, but still exist.

    The way i see it, the Franchise's publishers are intending to broader the audience by making the game closer to other games, while, what made people love the first games was precisally that those games were differents that any others.

    If those AAA games are made to be as much close as each other and as much dumb as possible, what could possibly allow to differentiate those games for the audience ? What would make me fond of the TES franchise, if everything is the same of that TES-like franchise ? Why bother buying clones while there could be unique games made by independant devellopers, that cost less than 60$ ?

    Considering that now, some develloppers can make games without publishers and sell it directly on the digital market, does it seem likely that the path some big publishers will make them sink someday ?

    I mean, why high quality devellopers like Inxile, for instance, would bother coming back in the old business model, if they know for sure, that the publisher will start dumbing down their games as soon as they will have some success, take all royalties instead of them or make other develloppers work on the franchises they started ? Basically, i feel that develloppers are royally screwed by publishers without the crowfunding.

    I mean, if we accept the loss of great franchises like Fallout or Metro, does it seems likely that futures high quality franchises will be spared from those big publishers ? (considering that good develloppers are smart)

    PS: I should replace my signature by "i want to believe"
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
  9. fred2

    fred2 Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 2, 2013
    So why do you think they do it, greed to make more money or necessary changes\developments to keep the game fresh and financially viable for them. Also how do you think they calculate if a game will be financially viable?

  10. naossano

    naossano So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 19, 2006
    Correction added. Thanks.
  11. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013
    A friend of mine said, 2 years ago, that we were in the "Cleopatra" stage. He compared it to the time when Hollywood, way back in the day, kept making grandiose but shallow sword-and-sandal spectacles because they thought that was the way to go. Untill they started flopping, like the aforementioned "Cleopatra". He was really sad about where gaming was at, and how the medium was stagnating and has been for a long while.

    However, I had a period where no interesting games were coming out, and it lasted a good while, but I did notice stuff happening and changing, and I feel like the medium is on a creativity or a small renaissance of revisiting stuff that used to work back before "it was all spectacles".

    1) Just this year and the previous one, a veritable load of turn based RPG's came out or were kickstarted. With rather good references. Once upon a time the idea of a Torment sequel looked like a pipe dream, these days, not anymore.

    2) The indie market brought me very, very fun stuff which would've been timeless and adored classics had it been made when it's visuals weren't retro. Desktop Dungeons kept me busy beta testing it to death for 2 years and I regret nothing. Dungeons of Dreadmor was also pure gold. Had these been made before the unholly marriage of hardware peddlers and game developers that first made everything isometric and then 3d, they would've been stuff of legends. (and were pretty sucessfull as is).

    3) What I was playing the most during the huge drought of anything worthwhile was Dota 1. It was horribly dated in many ways, but compared to just about anything else... "still a better love story than Twilight." Turns out there were millions of people who shared this view, and they're actually the genre du jour. This is pretty good, I think.

    4) It's easier than ever to ignore the ever present stream of overproduced crap these days. There's low budget indie stuff developing into sucessfull franchises - King of the Dragon pass was a flop when it first came out, but judging by the upcoming Rebuild: Gangs of Deadsville it looks like it has finally spawned a genre - roguelike/RPG/sim city lite hybrid, one I'll surely enjoy wasting a ton of my life on.

    5) Humble bundles! Legions of people never gave a dime to the AAA industry, but have bought every steam humble bundle there is. Lots of fun and cool stuff there.

    6) New Vegas came out at some point. That's a step forward from where things were standing, right?

    So, compared to where we were 4-5 years ago, and a lot of years before that - it's looking pretty good. Now if someone would finally make a proper graphics update, a religious one ala Dota 2, of Alpha Centauri, so I can loan a lot of money, play it as much as the original (or at least untill the money runs out) and then shoot myself and die happy, it'd be really good.
  12. fred2

    fred2 Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 2, 2013
    I think that a mark of any mature person is the realization that in life the are certain things you have to do or live with the consequences. For example in University we had a shit load of "humane" majors, who we called "grass people" not because only they smoked weed, but because while we was raped and hounded over the university, they always had huge windows in which they sit out on the grass enjoying the sun doing nothing.. those guys are the same people who usually later in life bitch about very low pay/benefits as if they didn't knew what they were getting into when they choose their majors.

    I mentioned this because you seem to skipped my first question about the developers motives. Which IMO is very important, because your post seem to suggest that the developers are not aware of your point (which were made hundreds of times before) as oppose to intentionally making changes to attract investments and broader audience making their game viable as opposed to a nice idea on paper.

    So you are saying that there are much cheaper games, which are more unique and with better quality, and yet everyone choose to buy the clone,crap,overpraised stuff ?!

    weird, because generally speaking much cheaper product means much more sales, unless they more costly product offer much more. So considering the amount of sales which overwhelmingly in favor of various uninspired TES games compared to those made by independent developers, should be made obvious to you that quality is a subjective term.

    Btw have you ever bought some kind of "overpriced" quality stuff? I have always thought that labels is BS, usually you can find something half the prices and just as good, several years ago I had to buy a very expansive suite for an event, I still think it is over priced but I can completely understand rich people who can afford them. After being dragged by my wive over dozens of shops, I can tell you the quality/selection, personal service and additional services are notable. The reason I mention it is because I feel that most people played AAA titles and got spoiled by them and now they look for AAA quality with niche depth and Chinese mockup prices. (otherwise they feel entitled to steal it)

    Basically every idiot know that blockbuster/popular movies/song are rarely known for their quality in terms of content, and content to look for their niche markets. But for some reason when it comes to games we have doom sayers lamenting the game industry because of the same thing.
  13. naossano

    naossano So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 19, 2006
    About doing shit to broader audience, it was mainly targetted toward publishers, that are the one who own old IPs, and can change devellopers at will. Besides that, i wasn't saying that you can't make games who are shitty or are in the hype, or intended for children or monkeys. There is an audience for that, for sure.

    But i was more complaining about the betrayal of the core aspects of some IP that HAD quality. If those IP were continued by publishers, it is because they already made some durable money, already been loved by the audience. But the success of those games was mostly because (or thanks) they were different from the crowd. Nobody would have noticed if they were the same of others. But as soon as the game get some success, the first thing they seem do to is to try to make the game more the same as others, removing the whole point of the franchise initial success.

    Now, with crowdfunding, seems that develloppers have a way to make the game they want without that silly pressure from publishers. Of course, crowdfunding couldn't work for everyone. But for high quality devellopers, it seems the right way for them to get rid of publishers. But it would mean new IP so they will keep the right to work on them, and of course, the royalties.

    If the publishers keep pushing the limits of that sillyness, the need to get rid of them seems more and more a necessity. But i maybe overly optimistic.

    It is maybe a cultural matter, but the way the relationship between develloppers & publishers is handled is unbelievable and make me kind of sick.
    In France, you are the author of a franchise or a part of it, you know that the law will protect your "droits d'auteurs". It means "author rights" like rights of citizens. As an author, you will have to give your authorization for any use of your work and you will have to be paid for each use of your work. Even if you made a mistake and signed documents that forfeited those right, you still can go to the trial and remind that those documents were illegal and that you can't forfeit these rights. As rights, they can't be removed in any way.

    Seems that, in the US videos games industry (and probably other medium like movies and TV-shows), not only the author can be legally forfeited for any royalties, but he won't have any if not written somewhere. Those royalties are not going to any author, but to a company that had nothing to do with the quality/creation/work on that IP, being a publisher instead of a devellopper. Even worse, that IP can be sold, to another company that has nothing to do with the origin of that IP. Not only the royalties, but the decision process of the future of that franchise is completly out of the author hands. And all of these, legally. Basically you can rape an author everyday and suffer no trial at all.

    This almost get me mad considering the legal background i come from, but i was wondering if the rights of the US authors on the IP they created, is something that is fought for in the US game industry or in other Us mediums. Or does the general consensus support the current situation about IP property, even if it create awfully unbelievable situations, like what happened with the Fallout franchise ?
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  14. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013
    ^ Well that's the difference between Anglo-Saxon legal tradition and the continental one. The continental one came to be because the authors, waaaaay back in the day, petitioned kings for recognition as actual originators of various stuff, while the anglo-saxon tradition was actually started by publishers (and was originally a "right to copy", a distribution right, rather than "recognition of autorship") to protect themselves from... rival publishers. Apparently Scottish publishers, waaaaay back in the day, were in fact "pirating" works which were considered property of London monopolists, and so on and so forth. As far as I know.

    Originally the author wasn't even part of the equation in the Anglo-Saxon bussiness. It's really quite depraved when you look at it.
  15. fred2

    fred2 Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 2, 2013
    @naossano, I didn't asked for your interpretation\opinion about what they are doing to the IP or your trust etc. I asked a real life practical question i.e. why in your opinion they are all doing it? Is it greed to make more money or necessary changes\developments to keep the game fresh and financially viable for them. Also how do you think they calculate if a game will be financially viable?

    Crowfunding is great because it provide job security, a pay up front approach. The "evil" publishers has the same motivation for breathing down the neck of developers i.e. to make sure the return on their investment is secure, because countless projects and publishers went down in the last decade for going wild.

    Crowfunding is also great because it gives developers direct access to various niche markets and on top of cutting cost of publishers they tap into a user base which usually happy to pay more and don't mind to become investor/bug tester/promoters/etc instead of good ol' consumer ( i.e. instead of buy and play, it is now invest, pay for shareware to feel important, wait at least two years, probably get shit load of spoilers, build huge expectations, be bug tester play ...)

    as for the rest of the post all that rant about Publishers and the system remind me this:
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  16. naossano

    naossano So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 19, 2006
    About your initial question, i'll go for the greed.
    I guess there are still some publishers out there that are doing it for the love of videos games, storytelling and customers services.

    But many of big publishers are just corporation which the sole purpose is not only to make money, but make more money in june than in may, then more money in july than june and so on... If they see competition, they will buy it to keep the market. (see Walt Disney) If they see an opportunity to buy a big clothes brand, they will buy it too. More and more of these corporations have many additionnal brand to sell other products, not related to video games. (see Vivendi)They don't care about the produce as long as their sell increase. They don't care about having enough money to pay everyone. They want more than the previous month. They don't care about games that keeps selling ten years after release. They only care about the selling at the launch. But the money gained at launch is not money you gain from the quality of the game, but for the quality of your advertizing, since, at launch, no customer has ever tried it.

    Also, the link that you provided don't advocate the need to keep publishers unchecked. It only means that, for now, Kickstarter need more regulations. Also, having an author keeping his rights on his IP doesn't mean he is allowed to do a mess. I would mention again the french system since i know it more. When you write a screenplay in France, the first step of the process is to sign a contract with a producer, that describe how the project will be devellopped, in what timeframe, what budget, how the author and the production will share the benefits, depending of any use, what are their mutual obligation. They also agree that if the author want to make a sequel, they have to tell the producer first. The author would change producer only if they fail to agree on the sequels. Then, the production handle the search for money, recruit the team, organize the shooting. They usually don't hire another company to do the movie for them. If they do, the new company would be co-producer too. Those co-production will get their share of the benefits, unlike US devellopers. To sum it up, even if the author keep his rights, there are rules and contracts that make the author face his responsabilities and respect his words. So as the producer. Also, their contracts tend to anticipate as much situations as possible. In case they start to bite each other throats, as long as they initially agreed on what needs to be done, they could continue the project. Also, the Final cut is the director's cut. The director doesn't have to negociate for it. It is an author right.

    If someone know the answer, i am still interested in that one :
    In the anglo-saxon world, are they people that want to setup some laws about author rights ? Did someone actually tried to change that officially ? Is there hope for a change ? Or does everyone fully support the current system ? Or not care ?

    The publishers owning IP if something unbelievable for me, since i wasn't born in the anglo-saxon world, but i don't know what you guys thing about the system you knew for decades or centuaries. Maybe for you it is normal, and french are aliens.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  17. fred2

    fred2 Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 2, 2013
    My initial question was about developers not publishers (or do you think that developers are doing all those bad changes, solely because of bad evil publishers )

    Also if you don't mind. How old are you, what you work at or have you ever taken a loan?
  18. naossano

    naossano So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 19, 2006
    But as a develloppers, you (are supposed to) have some skills in making game, but probably not enough money to cover the cost of making games or distribute them.
    We mentioned kickstarters, but i seems unlikely for a new develloper to go for them first, has they can't attract people on their name.

    The first step for a new develloper his to be hired by a devellopper company that work for the publishers.
    Then, if he, and his buddies have enough experience and money, they create a develloper company.
    That develloper company needs to get itself a name and actually work on games, that they need to be sure to get paid. So they work for publishers.
    Many develloppers are fine to consider themselves as employee/mercenaries and don't worry about the product.

    Then, we come to devellopers that put a lot of their soul in a game, that made a hit. (not every dev put that soul)
    If their publisher is supportive, or at least, agree to talk with them, the next games of the franchise could be in line is the previous one.
    If the publisher doesn't want to talk and order the next game to be dumbed down, the develloper can't do anything.
    The publisher have the rights in the IP. It can work on that IP with another devellopper, while the develloper can't work on the IP if the publisher doesn't agree.
    So, if the devellopper insist on saying what should be done, while the publisher refused to talk about it, the publisher will just have to find another devellopper and continue this franchise, free to dumb it down.
    The develloper would have no way to contadict that decision. There is no law to support it.
    Also, since publishers are buying each other, there is less and less publishers.
    As long as he isn't a publisher himself or hasn't secured enough income from multiple crowfunded project, the develloper need to maintain a relationship with publishers.
    You can't afford to piss one of the only ten publishers available, if you want to keep working in this domain.
    Plus, if you pissed publisher A, then worked for publisher B. If publisher A buy publisher B, you are screwed.
    So except if you manage to become fully financially independant from publishers, you have to please them, not contradict them, go along with their plans.
    It's not like there are thousands of publishers.

    So the question is not why devellopper go along with publishers politics, but rather, if they have the choice.

    Crowdfunding is a possibility to get rid of publishers. I hope there will be others.
    Free from that publishers pressures, you will know what the develloppers would do, and then, will be able to answer your question.

    In the time being, do you think they will purposly dumb their games down, while their game is already funded, and everyone already paid ?

    PS: About your personal question, not that i have to answer it, but i am 26 years old and i work as an assistant in film production. I took a loan 8 years ago to sustain my studies in the university, more exactly to help paying the rent & food when i studied (also had childhood economy, and study grant, but everything is expensive in Paris and it wasn't possible to study cinema in Marseille). I just finished paying the loan a few months ago and i hope i will never have to take another.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  19. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013
    ^ There were numerous attempts to change stuff, since the debate has been going on since the rennaisance (with books). The current laws for books are actually miles ahead than what they were for a long, long time (in both continental law and anglo-saxon one). The problem with games is the same problem that it used to be with books - monopolists and cartels (corporations) aways have more money to throw at lobbying for what they want.

    The reason Anglo-Saxon law was relaxed at all was that at one point Brittish kings wanted to mess up the book publishing cartels, so the authors found a way to sidestep the corporations of the day by appealing straight to lawmakers (this hapened in France in the late medieval times, in England much later - but when it comes to law history is really short). Games never had an opportunity for their authors to appeal to lawmakers, they're not considered art or a national brand, just bussiness. And as long as they're just bussiness the corporations and bussinessmen's interest is always going to win out and the politicians will only see it as a source of tax revenue rather than a cultural achevement or potent propaganda which needs careful management.

    It would take lawmakers in power who for some reason want to really mess up the big publishers for authors to gain more/proper rights (pretty much the only way it ever happened). But that would also mean recognizing games as an art and possibly set a precedent in any other publishing bussiness where publishers are still milking authors dry. The other way is the grassroots capitalist / communitarian approach like crowdfunding where demand allows authors to sidestep publishers, and the internet lets you sidestep distributors, so the big guys are losing all their monopolies with no lawmaking involved.

    And you'd be amazed just how many classics never got sequels because of IP rights ending up either in limbo or in the hands of someone who doesn't want to either sell them or do anything with them not to endanger a simmilar franchise of their own. The resurgence of "retro" or "nostalgia" games are less about actual nostalgia but about continuing development of stuff that could've and should've been developed ages ago, but the big guys only develop one thing at a time and don't want anything messing up the sales. They controll the distribution, and pool all their resources into whatever's the one thing they're developing that cycle. It's a big part of the success off AAA games - you don't want to have 2 major games out at once because there's only so much RL playtime. Valve made enormous ammounts of money by just being a distributor which lets anyone with skills/vision to put stuff on the market without getting involved in any companies politics and voluntarily going "french" on contracts. The anglo-saxon way only makes sense if publishers are the only means to secure distribution (it evolved from "distribution monopoly rights"), but is generaly devastating for any medium in the long run - but there's no law against writing up distribution contracts "french" style on purpose XD

    And ever since that stuff started happening we've been getting more and more games that an entrenched Anglo-Saxons system just wouldn't produce (as it in fact didn't for ages). Crowd funding is just upping it up a nothc, because having both a production and distribution monopoly takes both the authors and the customer out of the equation, making it legal to sell a "pig in a poke". But as long as Valve and simmilar distributors don't devolve into another iteration of branded distribution monopolists, authors are free to solicit funds from their customers. It's quite glorious, really, it's probably the first time in history of art that works are being commissioned by someone other than fiscal elites / tycoons / goverment officials. It's also the closest we've ever been to the ideal circumstances for capitalism actually working as intended for once XD
  20. fred2

    fred2 Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 2, 2013
    You guys sound like you are stuck in teenagers idealism that yet to collide with real life or underpaid job resenting the system, ranting about the crowd, the system, and evil corporations.

    Are you saying that game industry work differently than any other industry i.e. books, music or movies industry or any other industry?! (obviously applicable per project size i.e. small indie project using online distribution or those that require raising of large capital)

    Jee I wonder why do we go along with the job market realities, it would be nice if we had a choice, uuuuh yeaaah its this little thing that called reality. I mean fuck yeah we all would love to todo only what we want, enjoy and interested in and get paid as much as everyone else and live like the boss, we also love fantasy books etc so what?

    In your yet another developers the oppressed working class by the evil corporate devlopers rant, you neglected that developers can choose to go the indie way, that developers don't have to choose big publishers and go with smaller ones. For example Paradox, is one of my favorites middle sized publisher\developer who have been catering to niche market and have been involved with community by providing periodical developer diaries well and most of what kickstarter promised minus the pay up front, the shovelware for crap and personality cult BS -- I want a game not the game pad or retarded cooking with Tim or play with Chris Avalon, which IMO the worst things since DLCs.

    While all this BS about gamers making games for gamers, its a great PR line (like do no evil), but if you don't like how publishers do it why don't you start a publishing house by gamers for gamers? Developers like to call publishers evil, just as we like to hate the banks, and companies like to hate to cater to its investors whims and yet we all know the obligations that comes with those investments/loans and we take them. Bottom line is that publishers are no more evil then your bank, if you want a loan you need to show that your product is financially viable, you don't want to compromise on your creative aspirations or whatever find different way to raise money. You can't expect people to throw money at you without some expectation from you. :rolleyes:

    I can understand concerns to the "state of the industry" if we were couple of years ago, when the financial crisis caused a lot of developers/publishers to go down, annihilating the mid-sized sector, causing an unpleasant reality. However, today the industry is better then ever i.e. we have online distribution which opened the way for new markets, and alternative ways of funding, so cut off the rants evil that evil this. which either misguided or mascaraed for the usual rant about how quality is drowned by mainstream/popculture, which is true but nothing unique to game industry or media in general..