It's been a while since I posted to lounge and I need few minutes pause from what am I right now working on. Anyway to the topic:
Some of you already know that I'm *working* on a game (of course in spare time, when I don't work, etc.). My question (well rather seeking opinion of more people) is, whether one can make a successful game today. And I mean not earning a lot of money (there are probably better ways to earn money, than to make a game), but making a successful game that will have solid and good community base.
I've always been fan of Gothic series and in the time when Gothic 1 came out I actually started to think about being a game developer (I was a lot younger than I'm now of course - in that time I was just beginning to be a programmer) - like 4 people started the studio and finished the awesome game, that has still living community (addicted to Risen-series right now). Is it even possible to make a game like that today, e.g. with solid graphics, story, good technology and great game-play - just with 4 people for start? I just see that the game I work on (in current horde of 3 people) is progressing really slow.
My own feeling is that an RPG is a mistake for most small developers. I've known quite a few over the years that tried to do an RPG and not one of them finished it. RPG's are established, people know what they are getting, so they have very high expectations. A small art team really needs to think about re-usable landscape and items and rpg's have kind of graduated past that, except maybe on mobile platforms where it would be acceptable because of low memory usage. A retro type game would be possible, but when you try to compete with companies that have millions to spend, you will generally come up very short, and generally get a very small fan base. Small teams are best off trying new and risky ideas with re-usable art, or smaller more focused stories that take place in areas that a small team can manage.
Well, I guess its a good test of ability, if you are as good as I think you are Vilem - you should be able to do it. Even smashing out all the specific code for an rpg... but theres no chance for a guy that makes programming mistakes, Hes gotta rehash and rehash for years till he finally has a chance at completing it.
Takes so much determination - this job, its not for lazy slobs hey. (ive got one sleeping on my couch at the moment, he just watches me code and couldnt understand a single thing I say.)
#fireside - in fact I agree with you, that for smaller team it's not clever to do RPG game. I've also known quite few guys that tried to do an RPG game (although teams were mostly "just" artists, not programmers or scripters - and I don't think it's clever idea to start making RPG if you don't have in-house technology ... don't get me wrong here, I know that it's possible to make solid RPG game with 3rd party technology, but in my opinion experienced programmers are really needed for this stuff).
Also it's tools that actually build game world - and it's harder for smaller teams to actually build tools (building tool like TES Construction Set is a lot harder for team of 5 people than for team of 100 people). And creating large worlds really need high quality tools (or whole team gets into mental hospital).
As for competing with large companies - I think it's kind of impossible to compete with large companies here ... especially in scale of the world (if you want to at least try to keep up with art quality - that is in my opinion possible, because there is a lot of really good artist for hire), because the smaller company would just ran out of cash. But what if you make world 10 times smaller - you can make it with 10 times less people (approximately of course, I'm not stating real math here), and still get a good and playable game out of it. In my opinion if you compare Gothic with for example TES 3: Morrowind - it looks that way, Gothic is a lot more smaller -> and the team was also a lot smaller, though the world is on the other hand big enough to build a solid community around the game.
#rouncer - I agree with determination and second it with patience, but this one counts for any game development (and not just games development generally, this one counts for at least most jobs out there).
Ah.... my dinner got cold while I was writing this ... and I'm really hungry now. Time to eat! Oh that steak is awesome (next time, I'll post a photo - so you'll get jealous )!
You only have to browse the Steam store and see the number of indie games out there, some which have reached great success and most which I think got by just fine (based on anecdotal evidence of players and daily sales charts). Some of the popular games were made by a single individual or in a partnership. As long as your expectations are reasonable and within your skill sets, you can pull it off. Set them to high though, and it's easy to do that, then you have a problem on your hands.
I laughed my head off when Tetris came out. I then spent an hour on my Apple II and wrote my own version. Then I played it. Shit it was good.
I was at Psygnosis when the guy who wrote Lemmings came in to collect his first royalty cheque. That started as an exercise for his graphics artists, how small can you get a sprite and still animate it. The cheque was for just over £1,000,000.00 and they owed him another 900k, but they said he may have to wait a week for that.
"The Gadget Show" a UK TV program ran an exercise. Two presenters designed iPhone apps, one created a simple bike game. It sold over a million copies.
Angry Birds is a trivial piece of code, hell you can do your own version in a few hours with Box2D. Look at the sales figures for that, action figures, mouse mats, blah, blah, blah.
Can you write a successful game now? Hell yes.
If the idea for the game is good enough, and the graphics / sound effects well done, the skies the limit.
In fact now it's probably easier to write a game than it has ever been. I had to work in assembler, had to port my game to multiple platforms in assembler as well. Now you can work in high level languages, get multi-platform engines, etc.
All this makes it a hell of a lot easier to get your idea from inside your head, and out into the world.
Of course because it is so easy, there are loads of people doing it, so your idea needs to be damn good.
Is an RPG the right way to start? Probably not.