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 Post subject: Re: asset creation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:59 am 
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Gradualore wrote:
Maybe this discussion about asset creation should be split to a new thread?

I think it's relevant to the topic. The question is why homebrew games may not be as complex as they could be, and part of the answer is that it's hard to find people to make the art and music for you.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:33 am 
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Ok, that's fair. I'd be a poor moderator :D.

Ever heard of Bob's Game? It's a SNES style game for the DS...all made by one guy over the span of 5 years. So I mean, if you're dedicated enough you can do anything. After a certain point though it may be come ridiculous. Imagine writing an entire software rendered 3d engine, editors for 3d models and levels, all assets, music, shaders, sound effects and game engine programming all by one person. I think if I embarked on such a project it would easily take me at the very least 10 years, if not maybe 15 or 20. And by then, the system I was developing it on would be obsolete! That's another reason I chose the NES, it'll never be obsolete because it is already obsolete and as such can never change. So if it takes me a number of years to finish my project, it won't really matter, the NES will still be immortal when I am done.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:01 am 
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Drag wrote:
Sivak started there too. :P

I'm finally starting there as well.

Excuse me but it sounds like you are saying sivak has achieved something extraordinary and is our hero. The fact he makes money out of his games to proof his parents he's doing a serious hobby doesn't make him better than any of us.

Most of us stared long before Sivak. The first time I remember wanting to make a video games I was about 10-11 y.o (so it was ~9 years ago), but I sure lacked any skills in doing it :wink: , I wanted to do them for Windows, then the C64 (failing miserably at both) and I started to code for the NES ~7 years ago 13-14 (at first I sucked very badly of course)

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Man, artists are much more abundant than coders in my opinion. You show up at the proper place with an interesting project in the works and it will rain artists.

Mmh sounds great. One thing is that I'd only cooperate with someone I can meet real-life, cooperating on the net exclusively sounds like quite troublesome, you can't be 100% sure of the loyauty of your art.ist "friend", he might completely dissapear when you need him without warning.

Another problem is that if you want artists to join you, you need to proof you're serious about making video games. The only real proof is having alread one out, which is why I wanted to release my first game almost alone, and use it as an argument to have people (in real life) join my Rainbow (I already have a friend who is preparing a second game i'll code and we have ideas for quite a lot of games too - basically I'm the programmer/musician and he's the guy who always have good ideas when I need them).

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But then you have the problem of creative control. Unless I was getting paid, I would want it to be a true collaborative effort, and not just "draw these things for me." I wouldn't want to attach myself to a project that I think looks bad because it doesn't support enough frames of animation, or uses too many palette swapped enemies. Or if I don't want to draw emaciated Jews for the camp level and think a regular ice level with penguins might be a better idea, I'd expect my thoughts to be heard.

I guess you're right here. A programmer is the only one who has all the power to use or modify the work of others in the final product. He must then takes care not to abuse this position and make sure the artist has his word to say, else they may get tired of this and leave.
On the other hand I like to have my friend's opinion in a non-technical point of view, because he never things about tiles, palettes, algorithms or whatever when he's playing so it's nice for a review.

Another factor is my own laziness. Whenever I have a serious problem I just stop making any progress on my game for 4 months.

About topic split, why people want to split all topics each 3 posts for no reason ? Am I the only one who finds them irrelevant in most cases ? Soon each post is going to get his own topic if it continues like that...

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:36 am 
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I do agree with tokumaru about puzzle games getting old. I made "The Game" to start out, and it's about as basic as it gets. You move a flying arrow to hit a target over and over and over. I never expected to sell it or make anything of it because I didn't think anyone would like to play it for more than 4 seconds. After hearing the terrible B flat scale as the theme song, they would probably X out of the emulator window and go do something else!

I've also made a NES rendition of video keno that you see in casinos nowadays, but despite that I'm not releasing it. It's way too simple and repetitive. If I bother to have it make sound, perhaps then I'll release it for free, of course. No way am I making somebody pay money for something that has such little variety. That's the problem with puzzle games. You get about five minutes of entertainment and then it's just the same old song and dance for the rest of the game. Sure the puzzles aren't the same, but you're doing the same thing over and over. It gets mindless after a while.

That's why I'm really excited to see the final products of some of the games people are making around here. I mean you've got Sivak's game, which looks like it should be pretty entertaining and worth your while, then Bregalad is working on Dragon Skill which I really want to play every time I look at a screen shot. Both of those are also somewhat unique looking in how the game is played, which I really appreciate. Tokumaru, did you say you were scrapping the whole sonic project and using your engine for something else? Or is it still sonic? With your level of programming skills, and what you displayed with the raycasting demo, I have no doubt that you'll make an entertaining and impressive game. I just have no idea what it looks like or anything yet :).

Currently, I'm working on a platformer that scrolls horizontally in both directions. You shoot things, you have health, you get power-ups, try not to die, etc. There are also going to be some special types of levels where it's like you're flying in a space ship rather than controlling the character on foot. There will also be cool cutscenes with full-screen images and good music. It's going to be rather straight-forward, but the only challenge I have is that I'm doing it all with no mapper. So the cutscenes with full screen images require some creativity on my part! I've got it all figured out though, and it's hillarious but cool looking at the same time. I think the NESdev scene could really use a straight-up homebrew platforming/action game, so hopefully you'll be seeing that in the not-so-far future. I'm almost done with the engine; really. "The Great RA" is the name of the project, and you control a green alien in a space suit with a ray gun.

About not having artistic skills, I think you shouldn't use that as an excuse to not make a platformer or something more exciting than a puzzle game. I always push myself in doing things that I don't think I'm good at, but I have to do in order to get something that I want done accomplished. For example, before I came to the NESdev scene, I wanted to make a game, but I didn't know jack sh** about programming. Too bad; I had to learn. So I did. It took a while, but eventually I understood it fully and now I enjoy doing it. It's somewhat relaxing and easy. The same goes for doing art. You just have to jump right in and try. Sure, ask for some advice or help from more experienced artists, but I think it kind of sucks when people basically choose their "job" or "class" (final fantasy nerd moment, sorry) in life, and choose to do one thing and forever suck at something else. Just do it all; you'll fell a lot better about yourself.

And even if you've just got programming experience, make an engine that can handle animation and make stick figures for the time being for all of your characters and objects. I'm sure you can make a somewhat discernible animation for a walking stick figure. Then use that as the graphical data to work with while you make your game engine (and of course some blocks and stuff for the background). Afterwards you can focus on coming up with some way to make decently drawn tiles. To me, the excuse of not being an artist doesn't work for not designing a game engine for a platformer/action game.

Oh, and there's always the option of temporarily ripping the graphics from an existing game to use as sample data.

And tepples, I really enjoyed the subtle animation in your Concentration Camp game. If you asked me, I wouldn't say you lack artistic talent from what I saw. It looked very nice, in fact.

EDIT:

Bregalad wrote:
Excuse me but it sounds like you are saying sivak has achieved something extraordinary and is our hero.


Well, in a sense he has achieved something that not really anyone here else has (well, a few others have)... He actually completed his projects he told us about. That's more than I can say for myself, at least. And I don't think Drag was trying to say "Someday when I grow up I wanna be just like my hero Sivak and make millions of dollars off of my NES games." I think it was more along the lines of saying he wants to some time complete one of his projects like Sivak in fact did. I don't know if it's intentional, but I believe your comments about/towards Sivak may be coming off as unnecessarily harsh, rude, and/or inappropriate.


Last edited by Celius on Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:46 am 
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Currently, I'm working on a platformer that scrolls horizontally in both directions. You shoot things, you have health, you get power-ups, try not to die, etc. There are also going to be some special types of levels where it's like you're flying in a space ship rather than controlling the character on foot. There will also be cool cutscenes with full-screen images and good music. It's going to be rather straight-forward, but the only challenge I have is that I'm doing it all with no mapper. So the cutscenes with full screen images require some creativity on my part! I've got it all figured out though, and it's hillarious but cool looking at the same time. I think the NESdev scene could really use a straight-up homebrew platforming/action game, so hopefully you'll be seeing that in the not-so-far future. I'm almost done with the engine; really. "The Great RA" is the name of the project, and you control a green alien in a space suit with a ray gun.

Sounds really cool I look forward to see it !
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It's somewhat relaxing and easy. The same goes for doing art. You just have to jump right in and try. Sure, ask for some advice or help from more experienced artists, but I think it kind of sucks when people basically choose their "job" or "class" (final fantasy nerd moment, sorry) in life, and choose to do one thing and forever suck at something else. Just do it all; you'll fell a lot better about yourself.

True, but I think almost nobody can be good in all domains. Drawing isn't too much my thing, although I don't mind draw once in a while. Draw human or humanoïd people is always an interesting thing to do, but draw background or monsters is really a bit harder.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:58 am 
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I suppose some people don't care about certain fields in life or appreciate them. For example, lots of people appreciate the art of dancing. I personally think it is really stupid. I have absolutely -no- interest in that field. I mean zero. I just find it strange that people wouldn't want to know how to draw, or compose music. But I guess some people are just not interested in it like I'm not interested in dancing. And if you're not interested in it, then you don't have to learn about it. But I just don't like to hear people say "I wish I knew how to draw but I'm not going to do anything about it" when they can at least try and get better at it. But I guess it requires some motivation and dedication, which some people might not have...


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:53 pm 
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Artists have a very good reason to be skittish about committing to a hobby game project. Look at how many projects have started, compared to how many have finished.. in this case, include everyone's unreleased and unmentioned game projects.. I'd guess 1 in 10 making it to completion is a very optimistic view. And after contributing, it's no longer under your control. Sounds like a ticket to nowhere, to me.

Before I knew how to program, I was writing music for a couple different games people were writing in '96 or so. It was a lot of fun, maybe it helped things along, but none if it resulted in a game being created. It wasn't until Solar Wars that I made something that was actually used in a game, and I was writing (really bad) programs myself by that time. Also I've worked with artists like Tootai, who've put time into projects I've worked on that haven't been finished.

While the graphics do inspire development, and really bring the program to life, it doesn't make an ambitious game project any less of a monumental task. I guess this makes a pretty good case for placeholders.. something I don't often do enough of myself.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:15 pm 
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Gradualore wrote:
It's a SNES style game for the DS...all made by one guy over the span of 5 years. So I mean, if you're dedicated enough you can do anything.

Exactly. Looking at my own situation, knowing my project as I do, I'm absolute sure that if every day I managed to work at least 1 hour on my game, it would have been finished a long time ago.

Bregalad wrote:
Another factor is my own laziness. Whenever I have a serious problem I just stop making any progress on my game for 4 months.

But this is my problem. I often loose my motivation for whatever reason. There isn't a single day that I don't use the computer for more than 1 hour (except when I'm on vacation, but that doesn't happen so often), but I can go for weeks without being able to code anything. It's like a programmer's block, I just can't do it.

Bregalad wrote:
Excuse me but it sounds like you are saying sivak has achieved something extraordinary and is our hero.

He's surely no hero, but his merit is that he seems to be handling this hobby much better than the rest of us, even the oldbies. His latest game got a lot of attention, specially from people that don't code because they don't care about how complex a game is inside, they can simply see that it's a more advanced game than most homebrews, so it stands out. Sivak became some sort of icon because he's putting some unique games out, and this is what all of us should be doing.

Celius wrote:
I do agree with tokumaru about puzzle games getting old. I made "The Game" to start out, and it's about as basic as it gets.

As I see it, there are two ways to learn to program the NES: One is making simple games and working your way up. The other is making simple programs (not interesting to anyone else) to get acquainted with the hardware. I already knew a lot about game programming when I decided to work with the NES, so I had no interest in making simplistic games just to get to know the platform, it would be a waste of half of my time (the half spent on coding the straightforward game logic), so I made a number of small programs to study the hardware instead.

So here I am, still working on my complex game. I probably wouldn't have finished a simplistic game either, because there would be no motivation at all. Like I said before, I probably haven't completed a game yet because of laziness or overall lack of motivation, those are the issues I have to resolve, not the complexity of the game, I'm sure.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:18 pm 
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Memblers wrote:
Artists have a very good reason to be skittish about committing to a hobby game project. Look at how many projects have started, compared to how many have finished.. in this case, include everyone's unreleased and unmentioned game projects.. I'd guess 1 in 10 making it to completion is a very optimistic view. And after contributing, it's no longer under your control. Sounds like a ticket to nowhere, to me.


True. That's why I work alone, and also why I like to keep my development projects under my hat until they're basically completely done. I don't like getting people's hopes up for a game that will never be completed. The game I'm working on now (which I plan to sell if completed, sorry guys. I've given one game for free) will likely never see the light of day. So I do my best to never mention anything specific about it.

Slightly more on topic, I understand Tepples' concerns. As my game stands now, no one would probably play it if they loaded it up and saw its graphics. I can make pretty good sprites, but I'm really having trouble coming up with pretty backgrounds that look like what they're supposed to be. So right now my game is stuck in a minimal world, not unlike N+ which is not a bad thing, though I'd really love to have some colorful backgrounds like Kirby's Adventure. And... I need music too...

I hope this doesn't demand another split, but it has been brought up a little. This discussion makes me think of all the hate makers of complex games will get for wanting to sell their work when the time comes. I'm fine giving a game away for free when I've worked ~4 months on it, at a leisurely pace. My current game has taken up nearly all of my free time and probably will for a long time after this post. Naturally this is just how I feel, but the more complex a game of mine gets, the more hours I put into it, the less likely it is that the community will be able to enjoy it for free. Is that wrong?

In some ways, the eventual sale of this game is a motivating factor for me to actually finish this "complex" game. Even if I know I won't make a lot of money off a simple NES game unless I find a way to get it up on XBLA, or Wiiware, or whatever the heck PS3 calls its thing for cheap. If I knew I wasn't going to get a dime, I'd make a Tetris The Grand Master 3 clone (not a shot at Tepples, I would seriously LOVE to do this if I didn't have my current game to work on), or a Rubik's cube game. I thought of a great control scheme to rotate the cube, even. I'd also love to clone a bunch of other games like Schizoid, or Animal Crossing. (Got a plan for that too, but it'd take me years longer than if I was gonna sell it.) I do like programming in assembly as a hobby, but without something beyond that to motivate me, I'd be making simple games that are enjoyable to work on, and also give me less headaches, like a lot of other people. In fact, I'm quite sure if the repropak didn't exist I would not have even started planning my current project.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:37 pm 
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Kasumi wrote:
and also why I like to keep my development projects under my hat until they're basically completely done. I don't like getting people's hopes up for a game that will never be completed.

[aol]Me too.[/aol]

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So right now my game is stuck in a minimal world, not unlike N+ which is not a bad thing, though I'd really love to have some colorful backgrounds like Kirby's Adventure. And... I need music too...

One way to do music is to pull themes out of any classical music that hasn't already been overplayed.

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Naturally this is just how I feel, but the more complex a game of mine gets, the more hours I put into it, the less likely it is that the community will be able to enjoy it for free. Is that wrong?

As long as there's some sort of free demo, it's fine.

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If I knew I wasn't going to get a dime, I'd make a Tetris The Grand Master 3 clone (not a shot at Tepples, I would seriously LOVE to do this if I didn't have my current game to work on)

Go ahead and fork LJ65 if you want. Heck, it already has a very TGM3-like randomizer and the "BOTTOM" rotation that's (intentionally) a dead ringer for TGM3's "CLASSIC" rotation.

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or a Rubik's cube game. I thought of a great control scheme to rotate the cube, even.

I was thinking like Yoshi's Cookie.

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I'd also love to clone a bunch of other games like Schizoid, or Animal Crossing.

Interesting. Have you read my analysis of cloning AC? How do you plan to represent letters sent between players, or the clock?

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In fact, I'm quite sure if the repropak didn't exist I would not have even started planning my current project.

Same here. I'd probably be making PC games if it weren't for a few specific RetroZone products.


Last edited by tepples on Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:51 pm 
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Kasumi wrote:
I hope this doesn't demand another split

Probably will...

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I'm fine giving a game away for free when I've worked ~4 months on it, at a leisurely pace. My current game has taken up nearly all of my free time and probably will for a long time after this post. Naturally this is just how I feel, but the more complex a game of mine gets, the more hours I put into it, the less likely it is that the community will be able to enjoy it for free. Is that wrong?

You don't make retro games for other people (or at least you shouldn't) you make them for yourself. It's a hobby you picked and willingly chose to do it during your free time. If it feels so much like torture that you have to charge people to compensate for that, maybe you should pick a better hobby.

I'm not against making an extra buck out of our work, and many collectors and supporters are willing to pay for a physical version of a game even if a ROM is available, specially if you offer "extras" one cannot get when downloading a ROM. You won't be able to feed your family with this money, but it should still serve as incentive for you to keep going.

I'm far from being the most righteous person on earth, but I simply can't see myself releasing a purely commercial retro game when I download hundreds of old games for free, that's hypocrisy.

And you simply can't stop piracy. If there is a demand, eventually there will be a ROM of your game floating around. I don't know how common they are, because I've never looked for pirate versions of homebrew games (yet at least), partially because of complete lack of interest (simple puzzle games) and partially because of minimal respect towards the programmer (the few games that actually got me interested), even though I doubt they haven't pirated several commercial games themselves.

Also, some programmers come off as selfish in my opinion, because they show up here, and we do everything we can to help them out, and once they are good enough to make nice games they don't give anything back, they just sell something they could only do because they got free help, free documents, free tools... Ironic, isn't it?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:57 pm 
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tepples wrote:
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In fact, I'm quite sure if the repropak didn't exist I would not have even started planning my current project.

Same here. I'd probably be making PC games if it weren't for a few specific RetroZone products.

I'd still make NES games, but it sure is nice to know that your game might end up in a physical cart. And I don't mean because of the possible financial gain, but the satisfaction of seeing that it's a product as complete as the games we admire so much, and the fact that people will be able to play as it was meant to.


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I would like to note that sivak has in the past discontinued certain games and released their roms.


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Post Edited: Forgot to mention how I planned to transition from day to night in the NES Animal Crossing.

tepples wrote:
As long as there's some sort of free demo, it's fine.


Indeed there will be one.

Quote:
Go ahead and fork LJ65 if you want. Heck, it already has a very TGM3-like randomizer and the "BOTTOM" rotation that's (intentionally) a dead ringer for TGM3's "CLASSIC" rotation.


I may if I find the time.

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Interesting. Have you read my analysis of cloning AC
Writing letters is a problem I likely could not solve, and I didn't really give a lot of thought to it. Writing letters was never a huge part of the game for me. I'm not a person who needs EVERY aspect from the original, especially considering these limitations. My Geometry Wars clone left out the black hole things for instance, since calculating their pull on every single object would be very CPU intensive, or hacky if I went the quick route. The game already lags with 45 sprites getting shot at.

As for the clock, I planned to give a user the following options when they first started the game. Play by Season/Month (It'd probably end up as month), play by day, or play by clock. If they chose play by month, every time they started the game, they would be able to choose a month, with the default month selected being the last one played. So if they were playing and it was the same month they need only press A to start. Otherwise, they'd just advance one month. After that it would ask the player if it's early morning, morning, afternoon, or night. And it would transition to later in the day based on some arbitrary unit of time that I haven't decided yet. (Maybe an hour or two? Shorter than it'd be in real life. Or I could just have it remember how much time has passed in the current "block" of day so it could transition by a real time value by adding to whatever it was last.)

Play by day makes the assumption that every time the user starts the game a new day has started. (Last load was December 31st in game, so now it's January 1st) Of course the user could always correct the clock when this is not the case. Or... they could just let the game keep track of its own days and play away from real world time. After that it would ask the player if it's early morning, morning, afternoon, or night. It would again, transition the day after some amount of time has passed.

Play by time makes the user set the exact day and time each time they want to play, with the default time being what it was last time the game was loaded. I really doubt anyone would use this, but I'd implement it anyway. As for the fish/bugs that come out in REALLY specific times, I'd simply make it a little more general. Holidays could be reported (in play by month) to the user as X days away where X is the number of times they must load the game in the same month to trigger the holiday. Another plan I had was to use special registers for people that played on emulator, that emulator author's could implement to let the game read from the user's system clock. Many emulator authors wouldn't do it anyway, so this is how I'd do the clock.

Edit: Indeed managing the limited SRAM seems daunting, but I wouldn't have picked this project up because it was easy. I'd rather manage RAM than CPU cycles which is what I'm doing now.


Last edited by Kasumi on Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:44 pm 
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A double post, I didn't even realize Tokumaru got in before me.

tokumaru wrote:

You don't make retro games for other people (or at least you shouldn't) you make them for yourself. It's a hobby you picked and willingly chose to do it during your free time. If it feels so much like torture that you have to charge people to compensate for that, maybe you should pick a better hobby.


Heh. I've got a lot of hobbies. See my animations in the art topic. I'm not making this game FOR other people. It's still very self indulgent. It's just that the money is a motivating factor, beyond the joy of making of retro games. And it's just enough to push me to REALLY cool/complex stuff. Simply stated without the profit factor I'd still do it, I'd just do less complex things.

tokumaru wrote:
Like I said before, I probably haven't completed a game yet because of laziness or overall lack of motivation, those are the issues I have to resolve, not the complexity of the game, I'm sure.


That's where I was. The money motivates me to keep working on something complex. But it is not the WHOLE reason beyond why I do what I do. Otherwise I'd make a game for say... PC.


tokumaru wrote:
You won't be able to feed your family with this money, but it should still serve as incentive for you to keep going.


Indeed. That's exactly what I'm sayin' it's doing for me.

tokumaru wrote:
I'm far from being the most righteous person on earth, but I simply can't see myself releasing a purely commercial retro game when I download hundreds of old games for free, that's hypocrisy.


That's fair, man, and I understand that. But I'm one of those guys who goes to a retro game store near me every chance he gets to buy retro stuff. And I now own many games I would never have heard of it had it not been for such dark practices. It's just a shame that even when I buy a game used, the copyright holder still doesn't make any money. Owning a real copy vs owning a pirated copy of old games like this... isn't very different. The only right way to do it is buy stuff off the virtual console if it's even ON THERE. Which you have to admit is VERY different (BTW, I smell a split too) from me pirating any of Sivak's games, since there is still a way for the original copyright holder to make money off my purchase of the game, and I opted out.

tokumaru wrote:
And you simply can't stop piracy. If there is a demand, eventually there will be a ROM of your game floating around. I don't know how common they are, because I've never looked for pirate versions of homebrew games (yet at least), partially because of complete lack of interest (simple puzzle games) and partially because of minimal respect towards the programmer (the few games that actually got me interested), even though I doubt they haven't pirated several commercial games themselves.


Hmm... So I should never make anything that can be pirated? Cool, let's have everyone work at McDonald's and WalMart and call centers. Let's never make any cool software with a price tag attached, because everyone will just steal it! I shouldn't write a book? Or make a painting? Write a manga, etc, just bcause it can be pirated? I imagine a rom will be floating around of my game, and yeah, there's little I can do about it. But as I said the cash isn't the ONLY reason I'm doing this, and heck perhaps it's an optimistic outlook, but some people might pirate and like it enough to buy it. It HAS happened before.

tokumaru wrote:
Also, some programmers come off as selfish in my opinion, because they show up here, and we do everything we can to help them out, and once they are good enough to make nice games they don't give anything back, they just sell something they could only do because they got free help, free documents, free tools... Ironic, isn't it?


That's a fair assessment. In fact, I'm sure I'll be considered in this way. I try to give back when I can though, and in fact I'm currently teaching a friend of mine to make NES games for free. (Which takes a lot of my time.) Maybe... though... that's not quite giving back to this specific community. But I'm passing on the knowledge. Honestly, I try to help out on this forum whenever I can, but a lot of questions go over my head. I'm actually pretty bad at this whole programming thing and the only reason I get anywhere is sheer stubborn dedication. And having the repropak out there helps this dedication.


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