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Should the Indies just give up already?

LerxstLerxst Phx, AZPosts: 550Member

I don't mean this in a derogative way, but so many independent developers are coming out of the woodwork to create the next game that will "rock the genre" only to fail miserably and give a bad name to Indie games everywhere, that it feels their efforts are counterproductive.  As a "for instance" go through the games on this site and see how many fall into the category of "Indie" (not released by a major publisher/studio) and have been a success (generated constant player/customer base and maintained a quality product)... not many.

I have no issues with the smaller devs releasing their games as free trials, demos or paid alpha and beta tests.  Back in the 80-90's those were called "shareware".  There's really no expectation of a finished, polished game when you get involved in a game like that.  If it does end up well, then great; you got front row seats to a great game!  Most of them don't end up being Minecraft or Mount & Blade though.

What baffles me in the MMO genre, is those same types of developers even bothering to make a game anymore.  Really, you have two options - 1. Base it off of something that's already been done to near-perfection and add a lot of polish and playability to it (alleviating the need to actually brainstorm brand new ideas and find new ways to reinvent the same wheel as before) or 2. Create a mod for an already popular game.  (an IE for each - Minecraft was influenced by Wurm, but made a lot more user-friendly and DayZ which started its life as an ARMAII mod before going into development as a stand-alone) Anything else is doomed to failure right from the start.

The MMO genre is a field that's dominated by big, multi-million/billion dollar businesses.  A couple friends working out of their basement aren't even going to make a dent in it in this day and age.  The idea of starting a business that's nearly identical to an existing, larger one is entrepreneurial suicide.  It would be the same as a person going to WalMart, getting upset at the lack of wheelbarrow choices and opening up their own personal wheelbarrow store in the same strip mall... but only carrying 10 in stock... and then charging a premium for those 10.

So much talent being wasted...

I'd rather see smaller developers/studios creating games like "Papers, Please" and "Braid" than wasting time trying to make a dent in the MMO industry in this day and age.

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Comments

  • EnerzealEnerzeal WarringtonPosts: 326Member

    Eve Online did alright at it, and Star Citizen is technically an indie developed title.

     

    I understand your comments to a degree, Mortal Online did nothing but damage Sandbox games, and was an amateur hour pile of garbage that I invested time and money into. The answer however is not to give up, give up and nothing new happens, we need indie developers to keep trying because eventually, another Eve will come about, and by another Eve I mean another MMO that has the ability to go the distance.

  • AldersAlders Jack Burton'sPosts: 1,857Member Uncommon

    They should refocus on getting the basics right before trying to implement 101 awesome sandbox features.

    If the game feels terrible, unresponsive, and clunky then the rest doesn't matter.

  • delete5230delete5230 Posts: 2,944Member Uncommon

    Now would be the perfect time for an Indie developer to step in and rescue us.

    What larger developers and publishers are giving us now are 30 days of fun that are not really mmos. Sure people are sticking up for them but only for 30 days !.....The hype could last up to 90 days ( FF14 ) depending on good marketing because of constant influx of new players to replace the old.  We had seen it with :

    - Warhammer

    - Rift

    - SWTOR

    - AION

    - Star Trek Online

    - Defiance

    - Neverwinter

    - FF14 - Going on right now

     

    Soon to be:

    - Wildstar ( I'll be playing, but I'm only expecting 30 days of fun )

    - Elder Scrolls Online

    - Everquest Next

     

    The sad news...........Nothing is being developed by Indies, and development is usually slow. I don't see a near future Hero to save us.

     

     

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    If they're just going to make a lame copy of wurm online then yes they probably should just give up. The odds of any of these bad ffa ow pvp clones going anywhere is ....next to nothing.

    Games that actually try and build something unique in the genre have a decent chance of being successful. I doubt any of the lower budget games will make a huge splash.... but do they have to ? Any game that sets out to be a wow killer has already failed.

  • SpeelySpeely Seattle, WAPosts: 861Member
    No. Now is the perfect time for indie developers to enter the market. With dev tools and avenues of promotion and distribution becoming more available to a wider range of teams than they were in the past, the ability of a smaller team to produce a viable product is better than ever. You cite the number of failed products as an example of this model's inherent futility, but almost every market has a greater number of attempts than successes... not just mmorpgs. It's always been that way. It's just more visible now due to the increased exposure afforded by a larger, focused enthusiast community with crowdfunding facilitation to promote it.



    It's also important to have indie ideas driving innovation, even if most of them fail financially. Not only does it afford the possibility of a dark horse success story where none exist in the world of big publishers and their safe approaches, but it keeps the talent pool fresh and ensures that a community exists to encourage a spirit of innovation free from constraints, for better or worse.



    You never know when a publisher with some real money behind them is going to pick up a great idea and fund the hell out of it, either. The possibility of that happening is very low when the only studios working on mmorpgs are the ones already employed by said publishers.
  • PhaserlightPhaserlight Boca Raton, FLPosts: 867Member Uncommon

    Q: "Should the Indies just give up already?"

    Absolutely not.  Not if they have vision, motivation, drive, and the skill necessary to pull off what they aim for; the MMORPG I've been playing for the past decade, Vendetta Online, is made by a self-publishing 4-man dev team, and it has been a life-altering experience.

    I've always enjoyed game design (like, from the time I was 7), but that doesn't mean it would be a good idea for me to set off making my own MMORPG.  The amount of work involved is huge, and that's from an outside player's perspective.  However, I will lend my creativity to the game as I am able; that may be in the form of contributed mission content, videos, a player designed event, or a guild with a unique strategy.  By playing a small part in the community, I can participate in something much greater.

    However, if I truly believe in something I wish to create that doesn't yet exist, or something that exists but in a way such that I could vastly improve on it, then I may begin to ask questions like:

    A) is it economically feasible?

    B) do I have the means necessary to see it through?

    and

    C) is there a market for it?

    For an interesting series on creativity, copying, and innovation (which I think relates somewhat to the discussion at hand), see also:

    http://everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/

    For me, the bottom line is that most things worth doing aren't necessarily very profitable at first... it really comes down to what I believe in as an individual; not superficially, but honestly, humbly, and sincerely.

    "To be what you are not, experience what you are not." -Saint John of the Cross
    Authored 110 missions in Vendetta Online
    Check it out on Steam

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,773Member Uncommon
    There is still plenty of space for indie games to do what successful indie games have done in the past:  do one thing or a few things really well, without trying to do everything that you might expect a big-budget game to do.
  • MMOredfalconMMOredfalcon Mitchell, ONPosts: 132Member Common

    So on the OP...can someone tell me exactly which AAA company has come out with a decent MMO in the past ten years?

    IMO indie companies are the ones to watch. They have the chance of comming out with something different and truely worth playing. While the big companies continue to pump out WoW clone after WoW clone, the indies can stay away from that.

    Personally I would rather play an indi game with smaller population maybe a bit less graphics, but more original and in depth gameplay over a big name company game with lotsa flash n fireworks but nothing new in gameplay.

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,912Member Uncommon

    I was reading something the other day about 50 gig games becoming the norm in the next few years.

     

    Considering most of that weight is artwork, I feel badly for any low-mid budget Indie trying to get a foot in the market.  It's an insane amount of work to produce, and I have to wonder if all that art detracts from the priority of developing good gameplay.

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • Jean-Luc_PicardJean-Luc_Picard La BarrePosts: 3,545Member Uncommon

    Indies should just stop try to "fart higher than where their ass is", so to speak (it's a French saying).

    Vendetta and EvE worked because of the setting that was selected, which is something a small developer team with little funds can manage. Every single "traditional" ground based MMORPG made by indie companies either failed or ended being a very small niche game barely surviving for a simple reason... indie companies don't have the resources required to create such a game with appropriate production quality. The worst is usually animations and character design.

    Indie developers can do good products... they must just stop trying to do stuff they just can't do with the required quality and polish, and stick to stuff which is in their reach.

     

    Originally posted by MMOredfalcon

    So on the OP...can someone tell me exactly which AAA company has come out with a decent MMO in the past ten years?

    World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Guild Wars 2, Everquest 2...

    Playing now: WoW, Landmark, GW2, The Crew, SotA

    Top 3 MMORPGs played: UO, AC1 and WoW

    Honorable mentions: AO, LotRO, SW:TOR and GW2.

    ----------------

    "The ability to speak doesn't make you intelligent" - Qui-gon Jinn. After many years of reading Internet forums, there's no doubt that neither does the ability to write.
    So if you notice that I'm no longer answering your nonsense, stop trying... because you just joined my block list.

  • donpopukidonpopuki Dearborn, MIPosts: 591Member
    Indie developers need to scale back their scope due to lack of money. Back in the 80s and 90s only big companies where able to make games like Super Mario, Contra, and Megaman. As technology advanced those sorts of games can be created with less resources. Indie devs shouldn't try to go toe to toe with the big guys, they should instead try to create their own market niche.
  • greenreengreenreen Punchoo, AKPosts: 2,101Member Uncommon

    I don't think Indie is a dead trail.

    What I do see though are some commonalities. Many of them get caught up in packages because they don't normally program so they spend time learning the package they are using when they could have programmed that thing in more time but had more control over how it functions. Since so many of them tie themselves to a list of instructions they can't think beyond it. If the package doesn't have terraforming, they won't be able to code it in without first reverse engineering what the package is doing and going from there (if the program even allows that).

    I make websites for a living so I've seen the framework trap that people get themselves into and I know that while it may be quick to produce, you lose much control over the inner workings unless you are ready to dig into what they've done as mentioned. I don't blame it all on being a small team I blame it on them being too quick to move and too excited to get it done but they give up so much just buying a program that when I see them boast I know it's not going anywhere and that they have artificial limitations they created but I'm polite enough to say good luck because maybe they will realize that and start doing more homegrown pieces.

    Then there is security by obscurity, oh sure it gets poopoo'd but I can tell you for a fact after being involved in a security forum for many years that the second there was a known exploit it spread around the internet and people were using it. If you want to open yourself up to script kiddie rejects who press buttons to exploit you, go ahead and use a codebase that you don't maintain, they will thank you for it and since you aren't able to understand what you offer or are unwilling to dig into it, you deserve getting hacked up. There is no easy way out when there are lions in the jungle.

    The theme too is starting to repeat. How many times have you seen "you create the world" now in Indie games? Or even perma-death or FFA loot. Two things are making that trend for player created content  the thought that if players make the content they will get exactly what they want and that Minecraft had major success doing it and that the devs believe it will cut down their work. It does bring it's own set of problems though, is what Jim wants exactly like what Johnny wants and do either of them match the lore. Is there even lore or a story. What people make needs barriers around it if you have a story to maintain integrity. So no, you aren't going to just let the players create the content for you. You have to code in tools that allow them to do that if you have any semblance of rules to the game.

    Papers please I think is a fluke, the reason it got big was distribution and oddness. The gameplay and art style though isn't nearly as good to me as Don't Starve and I see it as more repetitive. I don't see it lasting too much longer. Don't Starve I think earned their stripes. Both games though I've seen all the "gamers" on youtube playing and we know some of them showcase games for quick cash. Big press like that and getting involved with Steam they get much more play than someone who doesn't use that. They also though give up a percentage of their sales to the company and that can be as high as 30% so it's a trade off. Get attention but pay a hefty price for it.

    Binding of Isaac was one that really took off too but if you think about it, it again was odd and creepy with a Zelda feel. Zelda was a proven concept. Binding of Isaac devs though worked their tail off to stay involved with their community. On Twitch they have a channel and talk to their fans, they would show up and watch people casting it, they made themselves likable and easier to throw money at. Hell, many nights on casts they took people on video tours of their house and talked with them while washing the cats. They have the energy and interest of Indies that people want to know about, a true interest in the game, not just some monetary ending.

    But the question remains... how many times will odd and creepy amuse us? Like you learn on the internet, the first creepy video you see makes others in comparison less shocking. That shock value will ramp up each time you watch another '2 x one y' video or play another weird game. Additionally though, there is an entire generation who grew up with emo and goth. Those things weren't around when I was young (we had punk and rock) so maybe it's a lifetime appeal to them where for me something punk would remind me of my youth?

  • SiveriaSiveria Saint John, New BrunswickPosts: 1,200Member Uncommon
    For the mmorpg sector, yes I kinda think they might wanna give up, since no real indie mmorpg has made it. However in the console/pc games section I hope they stay strong because damn, the only devs actually making good/intersting games these days for pc are indie devs, all the AAA devs seem to do is just rehash the exact same game without ever really making anything noticably diffrent, its kinda depressing to be honest.

    Being a pessimist is a win-win pattern of thinking. If you're a pessimist (I'll admit that I am!) you're either:

    A. Proven right (if something bad happens)

    or

    B. Pleasantly surprised (if something good happens)

    Either way, you can't lose! Try it out sometime!

  • DMKanoDMKano Gamercentral, AKPosts: 8,506Member Uncommon

    I think the future is having a small dev team inside of a larger company, or having access to large company data center and platform/account services.

    Look at what Trion is doing with Trove - an indie project done by a small dev team (started with 2 Rift devs, now its a team of 11). No NDA, full community involvement from early alpha - they are scrappy and work like an indie dev team (two builds per week!), with all the hosting/operatrions and account/platform services of Trion.

    Can you imagine if a small indie studio could just focus on game dev and all other technology aspects were available to them from the start? 

     

     

  • goboygogoboygo Posts: 790Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Alders

    They should refocus on getting the basics right before trying to implement 101 awesome sandbox features.

    If the game feels terrible, unresponsive, and clunky then the rest doesn't matter.

    This is an important point, so many indie developers have a thousand great ideas they want to implement but the basic movement and controls arent solid so there is no fun in playing your character.  Just moving him around is annoying.

    "Fighting Internet stupidity one post at at time"
  • GdemamiGdemami Beau VallonPosts: 7,860Member Uncommon

    The question is wrongly put.

    It is not the developers that should give up but "gamers". Gamers who worship indie games and kickstarter as jesus coming. That's not going to happen.

  • coretex666coretex666 PraguePosts: 1,934Member Uncommon

    Does not Minecraft fit into this category as well?

    I think the game has a significant impact on the genre.

    Waiting for L2 EU Classic

  • FinalFikusFinalFikus Chicago, ILPosts: 906Member
    Originally posted by Gdemami

    The question is wrongly put.

    It is not the developers that should give up but "gamers". Gamers who worship indie games and kickstarter as jesus coming. That's not going to happen.

    Then publishers will truly lose.

    "If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  • Thomas2006Thomas2006 Millersburg, INPosts: 803Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Lerxst
    I don't mean this in a derogative way, but so many independent developers are coming out of the woodwork to create the next game that will "rock the genre" only to fail miserably and give a bad name to Indie games everywhere, that it feels their efforts are counterproductive.  As a "for instance" go through the games on this site and see how many fall into the category of "Indie" (not released by a major publisher/studio) and have been a success (generated constant player/customer base and maintained a quality product)... not many.I have no issues with the smaller devs releasing their games as free trials, demos or paid alpha and beta tests.  Back in the 80-90's those were called "shareware".  There's really no expectation of a finished, polished game when you get involved in a game like that.  If it does end up well, then great; you got front row seats to a great game!  Most of them don't end up being Minecraft or Mount & Blade though.What baffles me in the MMO genre, is those same types of developers even bothering to make a game anymore.  Really, you have two options - 1. Base it off of something that's already been done to near-perfection and add a lot of polish and playability to it (alleviating the need to actually brainstorm brand new ideas and find new ways to reinvent the same wheel as before) or 2. Create a mod for an already popular game.  (an IE for each - Minecraft was influenced by Wurm, but made a lot more user-friendly and DayZ which started its life as an ARMAII mod before going into development as a stand-alone) Anything else is doomed to failure right from the start.The MMO genre is a field that's dominated by big, multi-million/billion dollar businesses.  A couple friends working out of their basement aren't even going to make a dent in it in this day and age.  The idea of starting a business that's nearly identical to an existing, larger one is entrepreneurial suicide.  It would be the same as a person going to WalMart, getting upset at the lack of wheelbarrow choices and opening up their own personal wheelbarrow store in the same strip mall... but only carrying 10 in stock... and then charging a premium for those 10.So much talent being wasted...I'd rather see smaller developers/studios creating games like "Papers, Please" and "Braid" than wasting time trying to make a dent in the MMO industry in this day and age.

    Not sure if you are aware or not but. Minecraft was made by one of the two devs of Wurm Online. So of course there inspired by each other. Wurm was going to be alot like minecraft but Roft wanted to take it into a different direction so Notch and Rolf had there falling out and split from each other.

  • mari3kmari3k erger, AKPosts: 135Member

    Making a good mmo is not an easy thing. most indies are just not good enough to make a solid game.

    There are things that are very complicated to develop like,

    - performance

    - hack security

    And without that the game will fail. Look at Drakfall, what a mess of a game...

     

    Indie devs should concentrate to make single player turn based games. They are easy to make and will sell well.

    Step in the arena and break the wall down

  • DrakynnDrakynn The Pas, MBPosts: 2,030Member

    Indies have been successful because they either successfully pull of something experimental that the big boys would never do or they come up with a new spin on a old or forgotten/neglected genre genre.Most Indies in the MMO genre do nothing of the above so far,at best they take one part of an old game like Ultima online and try to make that the be all and end all of their game without any experimentation or innovation aside from a graphical upgrade.

    It also pays to remember that for every Indie hit there's dozens of failures and break evens.

    There is room in the MMO market for Indies with a unique angle or ideas just like any other genre but it seems the more complicated nature of the genre is maybe not attracting such people.

     

  • RPGForeverRPGForever PortoviejoPosts: 120Member
    The problem with indie games is they try to emulate or surpass competitors instead coming up with what they would like to do. Indie know where the money is and they go in that direction but sometimes they enter to a competition arena with no resources and then they miserably fail.
  • NewfrNewfr MoscowPosts: 130Member
    Originally posted by Jean-Luc_Picard

    Indie developers can do good products... they must just stop trying to do stuff they just can't do with the required quality and polish, and stick to stuff which is in their reach.

    While i agree with this statement i can't get why small niche MMO is a bad thing. You see, a lot of people here demand exactly that, because mainstream MMORPGs... well... i couldn't call em a quality product. Yes, EA can dump millions of USD into a game... and end up with SWTOR - some kind of mediocre KOTOR clone but with some dudes from Internet in it for no reason at all. And i think i lost my faith that any AAA MMORPG can be the next UO, WoW or even Ragnarok Online (yes, i played it for a few years before WoW came out). Because now it's not about game, not about world, not about ideas. It's about money and that strange idea that the more money you dump into the game the more you get in return.

    Or you can have Heaven and Hearth for example. Very niche game, ugly as hell and so on. But it gave me that incredible feeling of exploration, of figuring things out, of that MMO in MMORPG. Yeah, after some time that wears off, but not a single MMORPG since WoW could do that. Guess why? Because all this GW2, EQ2, LOTRO they are almost the same, not much changes since EQ (well, at least not all of the sudden so it's not that obvious). I played each of this games less than a month because initial hype wears off quickly and you realize that you are playing almost the same game that you left some time before. Yeap, MMORPGs are more difficult to create, but there are some indie MMORPGs that found their own players like Realm of the Mad God, Wurm Online or Champions of Regnum.

    And if we look around. You know that League of Legends was made by what you can basically call an indie developer? Or Hawken? Or Forge? FFS even Counter-Strike once was a humble Half-Life mod (and how popular it was at that time!). So if you ask me - i want them to continue because that way we get a lot of finest game i ever played.

     

  • TsaboHavocTsaboHavoc PinheiralPosts: 351Member
    the  indies are here to stay  also many are/will be profitable because the investiment is minimun/low,sorry.
  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,172Member Uncommon

    Not every inventor comes up with the lightbulb, but for every 1 that does it inspires thousands of others to try.

    And if no one tried, we've never have gotten the lightbulb in the first place.

    That talent isn't being wasted, they are doing what they often dreamed of doing - making something that they wanted to make. It may not rock the industry, or be what you want them to make it, but commercial validation isn't the only way to measure something as successful. In my opinion, if a developer is proud of what they have done, and uses that as a springboard to continue to develop and grow, that's a success no matter how many copies it made.

    After all, how many people played Operation: Desert Storm? It sold 2,500 copies when it was published. Those developers went on to write Minotaur, then Marthon, Myth, and Oni in short succession. Then they went on to produce Halo, and a few people actually bought that game. Now they are writing Destiny.

    All that came from a game that sold 2,500 copies, and that history is over the course of more than 20 years. Just because someone doens't knock it out of the park with Minecraft on their first release doesn't mean it isn't noteworthy, or that they should stop wasting their talent.

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