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  • So since Big Blue will have PC versions, how does everyone feel about the (theoretical) possibility of the game being moddable? This is specifically a PC gamer thing. I'm a console guy so I'm not crazy about the practice. Personally I think that if a game has to be modded to be good then there's something wrong with it. I also think it encourages cheating because then players can just install modds to make things easier to avoid doing hard work in the game. Of course there are ways to cheat and mess around in console games too, but it's harder.

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    • Silversea (James)
    • Wildlife Photographer and part-time Game designer. Responsible for production of Songtide series of Ecco fangames.
    • Silversea_James
    • 7 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    @Icedolphin

    I don't see why it would need to be moddable to be honest. Just add a variety of characters, give us customizable difficulty and other customizable options and we'll be fine.

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  • @James: I agree with you that the game does not need modds. I picture LB as a story-based console style game with a start and an end, so such features aren't necessary. Modds seem to be more of a thing with open world and sim games.

    I don't like moddable games because they tend to attract people more interested in the modds than the actual game itself. I like to enjoy games for what they are, but that's just me. Another way of looking at it is modds allow people to enjoy your game in a different way. But if LB/BB will have online features, then you want to maintain that balance for the online mode by not allowing unfair advantages from modds.

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  • I guess it all depends on where Ed will take LB. If it will be an MMO then my previous post should apply. If it will be a disc game for PCs and consoles, that's a different story.

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  • Sith raises a lot of valid points in the post about online games. A lot of online games these days have difficulty maintaining their numbers, even if they are free. Even things like Zynga and World of Warcraft have both been shrinking and people simply get bored or move on to the latest fad. If Big Blue was being backed by a publisher, the team could gamble on an online mode (optional or not). But in the current economic situation the game is in now, they would have to boost the funding goal to pay for online features (and then calculate how they would sustain it in the future).

    Unless online is going to be a major part of the game, it shouldn't be included at all. Most people don't use token features like high score boards, sharing, and messaging. As long as online features can be turned off or not used at all, it does no harm to the player. But it does hurt the company making the game because they have to pay to maintain the servers, and if nobody is using the features then they are just losing money. The other side is they have to make back the server costs somehow, pay staff to supervise online behaviour, pay customer support and troubleshooting staff, and a slew of other issues. It's a lot more work and money than just releasing an offline game. This is why most online games are pay-only.

    The way I see it, the team should get the offline story part of the game out the door, release and sell it. Then if they want to make an online aspect they can go back to KS for an expansion pack. The other side of that is they would have to decide if the expansion would include the original game or be a standalone product.


    Bottom line, the game needs to decide if it wants to be a story-based or an online game. You can't have it both ways; nobody plays online games for the story. DRM issues aside, my major issue with the game having an online aspect is the money problem. You are asking money from us simply to cover your development costs, how are you going to pay to maintain an online game after that? Around 90% of Kickstarter video game projects do not release on time or need to go back or delay the game to ask for more money. A game with online features has a lot more unforeseeable costs. Once the game is released, how is it going to sustain itself without nickel-and-diming the players who only want to play the story mode? Unfortunately, I don't see it working out any other way. I don't mean to be rude, but humans are extinct, you're not going to get away with product placement and ads.

    I apologize for generalizing, but online games effectively hold a gun to the player's head as they keep draining money from the player and ask them to put up with a lot for the "love" of the game. Online games take a lot more money from the player than offline games, and the players get absolutely no say in what goes on. It's a "If you don't like this you can GTFO" mentality.

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  • That's a good point. I play an MMO and I know very well when they are no longer happy with the profit they make from paying customers they will just shut it down so it is a kind of 'blackmail' to keep pouring cash into the game to keep it online. The day they shut the servers down you are left with an empty box. You can't buy stuff on online games, you only 'rent' it since the content is on the server and never yours to begin with.

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  • @Ed: I have a question about recycling resources. How much do you plan to differentiate BB from LB? With the games' economic situation, I could understand if you recycled resources, but it's not something gamers really like. If LB is to be a full blown game, then as a sequel, BB needs to differentiate itself and have variety

    To give an example: I enjoyed the Evolution series for Dreamcast. But the second game was rushed and notably recycled a large chunk of the first game's soundtrack, including the battle music, boss music, and even the ending theme song. Despite that the game was an improvement over its predecessor in some areas, the recycled music dragged down the whole experience because it felt like a clearly unfinished game.

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  • @Sith: I agree with everything you just said. I consider digital-only games rentals. Sure they may last anywhere from 2 to 10 years, but they're still rentals and they will be gone eventually. As anti-piracy features get more complicated, the emulated and hacked copies of games preserved online will become less and less functional. When the servers are gone and nobody can rent the game anymore, nobody will be able to play the game with the original experience as it was intended. There's no such thing as perfect emulation either. Even today there are some old 8 and 16-bit games that are very difficult or impossible to emulate because of some quirks.

    There's way too much "fine print" and stuff that can go wrong with online and other kinds of digital-only games. Digital only games might as well come with a letter that says: "Dear valued customer: Thank you for your $60. We will be shutting down the servers on xx/xx/xxxx. After this, you will no longer be able to play the game. Go f**k yourself."

    In addition to online games, there are already console games that have been completely lost from being digital-only. The North American version of Megaman: The Wily Wars was a Sega Channel exclusive, and that service is long gone, so the game no longer exists and nobody can play it now. Sure there are Japanese and European versions, but it's not the same. With the way the industry is going now, there are going to be a lot more lost games in the future, we're already seeing it with DLC.

    I think the novelty of online games wore off a long time ago. Now that offline games are also so heavily monetized, people are getting sick of it and only have so much money to pour into one or the other.

    The physical vs. digital debate is not unique to video games. E-books have the same flaws as digital-only games. Concerns about preserving video games are just as valid as wanting to preserve books for future generations.

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  • The companies don't care about game preservation, only profits. They don't care that their 'product' ends up in oblivion hell afterwards. Games have become a throw-away product just like anything else.
    The further irony of it is that the extensive copyright laws of today that can last up to a century help to make games lost forever. In the strict sense of the law, you never buy disc games either and only rent them too. The disc has a limited lifespan and you are not allowed to transfer the data to something else to preserve your copy.

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  • Exactly. Simply put, anything that requires a connection to the internet in some manner, or has its origins on a server, has a limited lifespan. No one can predict how long a given company may survive, or when they will decide to yank the plug and end support for the game. Some offline PS3 games require you to download and install the latest game software update before the game will even boot up, so what is going to happen in a few years when the PS3 servers are shut down? Unless some sort of work-around is found (doubtful), then anyone who never got to experience the games will not be able to play them if they buy them in the future. They'll just be stuck with a nice brick to put on their shelf.

    Any game that features DLC, micro transactions, and other kinds of exclusive digital content that you have to pay additional money for, has no right to be sold for full price. With many modern games, the total "value" of the DLC often exceeds the price of the game itself. Yet the companies still have the nerve to ask the consumer to pay $60+taxes for an incomplete product. I'd rather a game be delayed for a year to get the full game, rather than being forced to have to pay to rent cut content. Give me the full experience or nothing at all. I don't care how much a game may cost to produce, if you are shipping it as an unfinished product then you have no right to sell it for $60.

    Furthermore, the price of physical games should have been going down since 1994, not up. Disc based physical games do not cost a lot of money to produce. 25 years ago, the price of games made sense. Genesis games sold for around $85 retail (in 90s money), but they had big circuit boards with multiple chips to produce and solder, cartridge shells, big clam shell cases and other expenses. Today games come in generic DVD cases on discs that cost next to nothing to produce and burn. Not only that, but physical releases are becoming increasingly cheaper. Some companies no longer ship their games with manuals. Any retro game collector knows that any game with no manual loses its value by 10 to $15. I don't care if the manual doesn't cost much to make, if a physical release is being shipped with no manual then you can't sell it for $60. Some PC games even offer the bare minimum, with the game coming in a big paper box with the actual disc stored in nothing but a plastic sleeve on the inside.

    So not only are we getting unfinished games, but the companies are cutting more corners on physical releases. I'm certainly not getting $60 of value when I buy a modern game. Despite this, they still sell both physical and digital versions for prices that are a lot higher than they're actually worth. Even handheld games have DLC now, sadly. Physical versions of handheld games are also sold for more than they're actually worth. I remember paying $50 for new Gameboy Colour games back in the day, but those games had larger circuit boards with save batteries and other production costs. Modern handheld games come on cheap flash-based carts, and when the flash burns out you will no longer be able to save and it will not be fixable like save batteries are. It's another form of planned obsolescence and some GBA and DS games have already become unplayable because of it. I don't like to spend money on DS games because I know they're just going to become trash eventually. Sure I may have to change the battery in my Gameboy games every 15-20 years, but at least they'll still be working after all these DS, 3DS and Vita games have burned out.

    The first console I was allowed to have at home was the N64. I rented most of my games at a video store because they were expensive at retail, but nothing was more satisfying than saving up money and finally being able to buy the game for myself. Because then I owned the game and it became mine forever, to play whenever I wanted. That was also why games were more expensive back then, you were buying the game, it was a finished product and that was it. Today games are just overpriced, partial or full rentals with a limited lifespan. Physical games are cheap and watered down, and any parts of the game that is DLC has a limited lifespan. At the end of the day you're simply left with a gutted game or a brick. Don't grow to attached to your modern games because they're not going to last long. From 1972 to 2005 people were used to owning the games they bought and them being complete products that would retain their functionality, those days are long gone now unfortunately.

    Video games have become a disposable medium. Today it's all about milking the most out of the customer with low quality goods and forcing them to pay for disposable cut content that should have been included in the game in the first place. The companies simply do all this crap because it's an easy way to net them money and they don't care about the consumer. Unfortunately the market has largely eaten up digital releases for video games, books and movies, simply because the price is lower, and all without thinking about the consequences. As non-interactive media, books and movies are easier to preserve through piracy, but video games are much more difficult because there are more issues involved.

    Video games are supposed to be a physical product. I give you my money and you give me the game. That's the basic rule of the market. That was the whole point of every console up until the Gamecube, they were dedicated gaming machines that you bought video games for and played them on. Games are no longer a product, they're "content" through a "service".

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  • I'm not sure how all that is relevant to this thread, as this was supposed to be about questions about the game and not a discussion about the evolution of the games industry.

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  • It's entirely relevant to the game. This discussion has been going on for a week. If it were a problem I'm sure the mods would have moved the posts to another thread.

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  • What is your policy on save files? I'm not sure how it works with modern PC games, but I think people should be able to back up their saves and progress so that the same file can be moved and played on a different computer that also has the game installed. Some companies today put a copy block on save files because they do not want people uploading their saves to the internet for others to download and play. This does not really serve any purpose besides punishing the player. It would be like if 20 years ago companies made passwords unique to the individual cartridge so players could not help each other.

    PC games are enough of a hassle to get working as it is, so I see no harm in letting players back up and move their saves between computers. People downloading saves from others also allows them to enjoy your game more if they are stuck at a certain part or if guides are not helpful.

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  • So what is happening with this game? These boards have been around for 4 months now and you have not shared any new content with us. I can understand if you are refining the game, but what would have happened if you HAD gotten the Kickstarter money, would you have rushed the game out to meet your deadline?

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  • I don't understand your question.   Would I have rushed the game out?   I am not sure what you mean.


    Thanks for all your input.

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  • I'm just asking how far along the game is now since it's been four months. Your staff member said that the game design is still "fairly liquid", so I'm asking if it's still in a concept phase, or if it's in some form of early development with the resources available to you? Are you gearing up for another prototype to show off sometime in the future?

    By my comment about "rushing out" the game, I meant if the game is still in a concept phase now, would the Kickstarter money have forced you to start developing while in the middle of that phase? One year is not a lot of time to develop and release a game on multiple platforms.

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  • Ok, we are working on various elements of the game.   Some are really for other games right now, but will come in handy on this game when the time comes.  I am not ready to share any details since its all, as you mentioned, is liquid.   :) 

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    • Silversea (James)
    • Wildlife Photographer and part-time Game designer. Responsible for production of Songtide series of Ecco fangames.
    • Silversea_James
    • 7 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    No need to rush this. Info and pretty pictures will come when it comes.

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  • Thanks for the update. Keep us posted! :)

    I apologize for being impatient and nagging at times.


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  • "Liquid" lol that's a nice pun. xD

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  • @Ed: I don't suppose you'd know anything about this since you no longer work for the company, but do you know if Sega still has the source code for the Ecco games? They've lost the source code for a lot of their games including Panzer Dragoon Saga and the original Sonic the Hedgehog. It's why when they port a lot of their games they turn out poorly because the team doing it has to completely rebuild them from the ground up.

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  • I bet Sega had to get their games from the internet too, from people who 'illegally' dumped the rom images. Copyright doesn't protect games, it exterminates them. The problem is not the copyright itself but the duration of it. It should only be sufficiently long to give the author enough time to make a profit from his product. 25 years would be a reasonable term for games since the tech ages. However in reality copyright is eternal. If nobody would dump games and brake the law they would be gone forever as the companies themselves don't even bother to preserve them like Sega so well demonstrates.

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  • You're entirely correct. Sega is well known for paying emulator makers and rom hackers to make their port collections for them. "Sega Smash Pack Volume 1" for Dreamcast is actually an emulator made by rom hackers that Sega paid to use the code for. That collection is known for its poor audio emulation among other technical problems."Sonic Mega Collection Plus" for PS2 and "Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection" for PS3 are also well known for being poorly emulated re-releases of old Sega games.

    This problem is not limited to Sega, unfortunately. Many Virtual Console releases are poorly emulated, such as "Mayhem in Monsterland", a port of a Commodore 64 game. There will never be perfect emulation, no matter how far the tech advances. For example, the PS3 is much more powerful than the arcade boards of 1985, but it can't even properly emulate the audio from Space Harrier. Ironically, the further the tech advances, the harder it becomes to emulate older games. Most devices today can not display CRT resolutions (or colour range because of the LCD tech), so they have to stretch the picture to 480P and apply filters to make them look slightly less worse.

    Losing source code is shockingly common in the industry. Even the source code for marketing gold like Final Fantasy VII has been lost.

    All these problems only highlight the need for video games to be the consumer's private property, where they will have an afterlife in the used games market and still be perfectly playable for future generations. Digital releases have a limited lifespan and emulation can never replace the functionality of physical releases on the original hardware. Even "primitive" games like Atari 2600 titles will never be replaced by digital releases because some games rely on quirks in the actual hardware, such as having to flip the switches on the physical console, or on exploits in the code tied to the chips in specific versions of the hardware. Atari games like Warlords would be impossible to re-release today because they use the Paddle controller, and nobody uses that kind of tech in controllers anymore.

    Although a separate issue, the death of the arcades is another example of losing the original experience. Not only do not enough arcade games get ported to consoles, but anybody who didn't go to the physical arcade will never get to experience stuff like the "full body" cabinets for games like Hang-On and Afterburner.

    You might have heard that "Games for Windows Live" is shutting down soon, that service is not even old and any games that people bought for that service will soon become unplayable. People like to bury their head in the sand and hope that the servers will never shut down, but it happens far more often than people like to admit.

    Your point about the laws of today damaging and exterminating games is entirely correct. Lately I have been into collecting and playing Dreamcast games. The DC is 15 year old hardware now, and if games back then used the business practices of today, I would not be able to play any Dreamcast games now. The entire console's library would be lost to history.

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  • I bought the DC from launch in '99 for Sonic Adventure and hoping for a new Ecco game, even if I was skeptical at the time that it would happen (since 'The tides of time' game was 5 years old already). To my joy it did happen and the team that made DOTF did a great job. They managed to create that Ecco atmosphere in 3D. And then we got treated to Shenmue, another unique game concept like Ecco's aquatic and unusual reality is. It's gems like these that I buy hardware for.
    They tied Yu Suzuki's hands after Shenmue's second installment and I don't even know why Sega abandoned Ecco to begin with. Why is it always that unique brilliant stuff gets canned? I'm sick and tired of yet another sports game, fighting game, racer or fps. Give us some new games like Ecco and Shenmue godammit!
    The road that Ed needs to take is long and hard, but from what I can understand he does it out of love for his concepts and creations so I hope he hangs in there. I really want to see another Ecco game with the same atmosphere and unusual sentient sea-creatures that lurk in the depths of the ocean ...and a reality without humans like the concept has always been. I hope LB can act as a gateway or stepping stone.

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  • I've never been a fan of Shenmue, but the reason there will never be another game is because the whole project was stupidly ambitious, with the first two games being only 2 of something like 11 planned chapters. That's why there's never going to be another game, it's simply not doable. The Ogre series by Square has a similar premise (10+ chapters) but it will never be finished for similar reasons.

    If you read Japanese, you might want to check out Mizzurna Falls for PS1. It's a 3D adventure game from that era with concepts similar to Red Seeds Profile and Shenmue. I haven't played it yet but it looks interesting.

    As for why Sega doesn't care about their IPs, they're not the same company anymore. They were bought out by a pachinko company sometime in the last decade. The downfall of Sega is well documented online, and you can read about it in various places, it's a fascinating but enraging read. Long story short, the company tore itself apart from the inside with petty infighting,  and a long series of bad decisions. You and I, and others on this board, are not the primary audience the new Sega is interested in, nor one they have cared about for a long time. The only franchise from the last decade they remotely care about now is Yakuza, and everything else is quick and dirty rehashes, or the money they make from publishing.

    You also have to look at where the industry is going. Console gaming is going extinct. The "consoles" of today are multimedia boxes and watered down PCs. Sega is a Japanese company. Genres that the Japanese market used to enjoy, such as RPGs, have been pushed onto handhelds in the last generation. The handheld market is now threatened by phone games, as the mobile market brings in twice as much money in Japan as the handheld market. So Japanese companies are increasingly making mobiles their major focus for the future, despite not understanding that it is an entirely different audience. So now console gamers are this odd niche with few places left to go. Companies only like to play it safe now with the "conservative" genres of today, as you mentioned: sports, fighters, racers and shooters. So all the leftovers that are not those genres or social/mobile games, are an odd niche that most publishers are very reluctant to touch. This is why Little Blue has not been able to find a publisher, console gaming and the genres once associated with it, are disappearing.

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