I suppose this might be seen to some as a stupid question in this day and age, but are you developing the games to look good on CRT or LCD displays?
Now that games are no longer tied to X number of colours/sprites per scanline, developers do not need to use CRTs anymore. However, I have heard that game developers, animators and photographers still like to use CRT displays because they are the only displays that offer true colour representation. So if a game is being developed on CRT, it's not going to look good on someone's LCD. Some of us aren't so picky, but I like to use CRT for everything, so I do notice the difference between the two. LCD has sharper picture and higher resolution, but everything else is a disadvantage: weaker colours, ghosting, input lag and it has to stretch the picture if it doesn't match the maximum resolution. This is why all retro consoles look terrible on LCD screens (LCD also lacks scanlines).
If games are not optimized to run on LCD then you are going to get complaints about ghosting, colour quality and input delay. I suppose now that people have been working with LCD for a while it's not so much of a problem, but I can tell when games were made for LCD. When I played Megaman 9 on my CRT TV the colours appeared a bit too harsh because the picture was made to look decent on LCD.
I'm not saying you need to make a "CRT mode" for the games but it's just a little nitpick I'd like clarification on.
Silver, I don't want to create bad blood around here, but many people find MLP content offensive on forums, especially when the subject matter of the forum or the discussion at hand has nothing to do with MLP, such as this board.
It could also damage the image of this community for potential backers. Please do not post any more irrelevant pictures.
Will anything above the surface of the water be visible when playing as a creature underwater? Or will it be like Ecco where you can see whatever fits on the screen at the time?
I think it would be neat if you can't see anything of your (above surface) surroundings until you poke your head out of the water or breach.
Ed, what did you mean when you said: "I will focus on growth to get as many people playing it and loving it as possible - so the game will likely be free for a long time." I hope this does not mean future transactions being forced on the player after purchasing the game itself.
You also said: "I won't let it just burn out, I want to BOOT the Big Blue so it can support itself and grow - this requires on going revenue." So does that mean (hopefully optional) subscriptions? I'd be fine with purchasing expansion packs like you could with old PC games.
You said that you are not ready to comment on DRM yet, but your promise that the game will not require an internet connection, combined with the above, all create a confusing and conflicting picture of what kind of business models the Blue games will be available through.
I do not want to clutter up the board, so this is the last I will say of this. You never replied in the Game Ownership Issue thread in the Discussions board. Your stance on the issues of PC game ownership (choosing between owning the game, or it being "licensed not sold") and if the game will feature limited installs, is entirely what will decide if I back or even purchase The Little Blue and The Big Blue. If you choose to only "license" the game and force a limited number of installations on it, then I will NOT be supporting these games, and I will be greatly saddened by that. The Little Blue is the first game in years that I have been so excited about. It is a simple question and all I am asking for is clarification. If I do not like what I hear, and I am unable to convince you through debate, then I will happily leave these boards in peace.
I understand you may be used to a "licensed not sold" business model since you have not really developed for any mainstream platforms since the Sega Saturn and that in recent years you have been working mostly on digital-only releases,so it's not really something you've had to think about. But I can assure you, there are many old fashioned people out there like me that think about game ownership and purchases through the lens of how things were in the Genesis years. You yourself said the Genesis was your favourite machine to develop for.
It is clear from the lack of responses from other members that I am likely in the minority on this issue, and in the grand scheme of things I am only one insignificant fan and am disposable from a business perspective. Please do not take this the wrong way, all I'm asking for is an answer to a simple question. My views do not carry any more weight than the views of the other members around here, but please understand that this is a very important issue to me and it will decide my stance on this entire project. Ed, you won me over for the most part with your promise of the game not requiring an internet connection, which is a huge feat, and I am not being ungrateful. If my position is somehow unacceptable and seen as unreasonable demands, then I will happily leave. If you are not ready to comment on this issue yet, then it would be nice to acknowledge that and I will remain cautiously optimistic. If you come out pro-consumer on this, then it will be a huge victory for your image and that of Playchemy and the upcoming Kickstarter campaign. I'm sure it would make a great many people very happy.
So, if there is a physical copy of The Little Blue/The Big Blue, will we actually own that game if we purchase it? And will the game be installable to any number of computers like old PC games, or will it feature limited installs which force you to repurchase the game after they run out?
It's ultimately up to Ed to decide, but I think the idea behind the Big Blue was deeply flawed. What happened to Microsoft should give people a good idea of how the consumer is always right. It doesn't matter if Microsoft didn't get the chance to really explain what their intentions were, the backlash was too strong for even a company like them to handle.
To illustrate my point, I was just following another Kickstarter for a international release of the Blu-ray for "Time Of Eve", an anime.
They said they were going to include extra's as digital downloads but that they would have to use DRM. The vast majority of backers said they didn't even want the extra's if they came with DRM. After that, the question was asked to the backers if they would mind that the blu-ray was delayed for months, but included the extra's without DRM. 100% of the people that answered agreed to the delay. 100%. That's your Kickstarter audience. They'll help you release a product, but they'll fight back if you try to add anything to the content that could ruin their experience.
So in that sense, Ed doesn't need to be uncertain about DRM. It's very simple: if you want to include anything like DRM, then don't even bother using Kickstarter because it's guaranteed to fail. It's that simple. The vast majority of backers at Kickstarters are people that pledge because they want to support a project. They give you money so you can create your game. But they don't give you money to add things that are of no value to them. Being vague about things like DRM, MMO subscriptions and exclusive content is a good way of making sure you won't get enough pledges. People want clarity. We give you this much money, and we get this after a certain amount of time. The Big Blue did everything wrong in that regard. Ed asked money and basically said "well, I might make an MMO out of it with subscriptions. Oh and here are these awesome cards which you can buy from an online store". Ed asked people to spend their money to help him make a game that may ask them to spend even more money later on. Or that may cause them to miss out of exclusive content because they didn't spend enough money. That was never going to work. We're not publishers, we're not in it because we want our money back. We're interested in getting the game itself. If you want to include micro-transactions then you're better off talking to a traditional publisher because Kickstarter is not the place for that.
So what Ed said about "the game will likely be free for a long time."... Either it has to be free forever, or you pay a set amount of money and you get a non-DRM version of the game or you don't use Kickstarter. That's how I see it.
In the end, we have to decide what is best for the game. I understand the point that it has to be one or the other and the culture of KS demands no DRM. But, we want the BB to live on and grow, so it has to be formulated so that it can eventually sustain itself. I'm just not smart enough to have it all figured out by day one. But I do have an instinct that I can guide the game, both in terms of development and it's business model so it can take off and grow. Just like in nature, adaptability (i.e. Flexibility) is what makes you survive. Thus my reluctance to lock in these decisions today.
For now Little Blue will be FREE to all. Backers (if I use KS to fund LB) will get extra stuff.
Having reread it I guess my previous post sounded a tad rude, my apologies for that. What I posted is of course nothing but my opinion, but I made it sound like my opinion reflects that of the entire Kickstarter audience which of course isn't the case.
I don't expect you to have the answers Ed, if it were a simple problem the gaming industry wouldn't be in the state it's in now. Microsoft evidently didn't have the right answer either.
@James: We have not seen any gameplay yet, but I do not think a first person view would work in a sidescroller. Ed said that they are making the game from a side view so they can choose what to put in a specific area to make it easier to navigate. Keeping the game in a side scroll view is also less work for the game to render, so the gameplay can be more focused and refined. Ed also said they are going with a side view to give the player a better sense of speed when moving. I think both are great and logical design choices. Sidescrollers are a lost art form these days. A cynical person might say "He's only making it a sidescroller because he hasn't made a game in 20 years", but those people should be ignored. The death of 2D gaming in the 32-bit era contributed to the shape the industry is in now. If anything, cookie cutter 3D games are the cheapest way to develop games these days. Although indie sidescrollers have gotten somewhat of a bad name lately (due to all the bad "8-bit" games), I think it's great Ed is making another sidescroller because we know he can make something great with it. I miss the old 2D platformers and sidescrollers, so I am really looking forward to this. I also find it exciting thinking about The Little Blue because it's effectively an Ecco game without the technical limitations of 20 years ago and they can do pretty much anything they want with the game that they couldn't while developing Ecco before.
@Ed: I also apologize if my posts came off as rude. My intention was not to be heavy handed or to try to force your hand. This is an important issue and it arouses very strong emotions in gamers. My statements still stand however. Thank you for your reply, you have put my mind at ease for now. You come across as very honourable with your promises of no online and your stance against region locking, the industry needs more people like you. Thanks also for the clarification on the free vs paid issue with The Little Blue.
I will make a detailed reply later, but I will say this for now. I made that post because I was getting anxious and worried because the Game Ownership thread had not gotten any replies. If another hot button issue comes up in the future, I suggest you just make a quick post saying you are not ready to comment yet, otherwise it looks like you are dodging or avoiding the question. I know that is not the case, but that's what it looks like. I am grateful that these boards are here and frankly I would never expect any developer to be as involved with their fans as you have been around here. You are doing a great job with communication lately, keep up the good work! I don't mean to be pushy, but it effects the atmosphere of the board when you don't post for three weeks at a time.
@Draikin: I agree with your points. Though I do think we can reach a reasonable compromise with Ed on the game's business model. More on that later.
Regarding your points, my first impression of BB was overwhelmingly negative, it went something like this:
*Opens KS page*
"Oh look, Ed's making another game, that's nice."
*scrolls down to platforms*
"Great.... it's a phone game with computer versions. That just killed my interest in the project" (this is where most people would stop reading and close the page)
*reads the rest of page*
"Lovely, it's an MMO with N64 graphics, some card things, and he wants $665,000 for it... That's not going to happen."
After that I was not even going to give the project the time of day by watching the video, because by then I had zero interest in it. I actually only checked out the video two weeks later, out of curiosity because the campaign was struggling. So if that's how I felt about the game, you can only imagine how harsh of a judge a non-Ecco fan would be.
Ed, please do not take this the wrong way. I'm going to be brutally honest here because it needs to be said. After reading the KS page I thought the project was a stupid idea and that the writing on the page largely reeked of bull (vague, short descriptions and the creature cards section being the most fleshed out section of the page) and that the team was expecting to get funding based on their names and development history alone. Frankly, I could not understand the hype around it in the Ecco community or even why anyone would give the team money for it.
That said, I only started to get moderately interested in the project after reading all the interviews, the KS updates and Ed's early posts on this board. I felt bad when the project failed and was sad to see Ed down, but there was no way the game would have been doable in the form BB was in back then.
To be honest, when I first joined these boards, I did not expect to be here in the long run like I am now. It was the gradual clarification of details and Ed's promise of no online connection that won me over to this project. And that's the problem, if I only came here not expecting much, less passionate people than me would not even bother visiting these forums even once because of their negative first impression from the Kickstarter page. As a result, all those people are not aware of the details we know now because they had no reason to visit the forum here. The KS for LB needs to do everything it can to detoxify how people thought of BB. I think these forums have been doing a good job of starting to turn things around, especially for those of us participating in the community, but there is still a long battle ahead for public opinion.
Perhaps a little harsh, but it might be the truth for the reason that the kickstarter did not reach its success, and I imagine advertising lack hurt it too. Though randomness and luck may have played its part.
I stand by my comments of more detail, more content and more beautiful content in the kickstarter. Its a good start but it isn't yet going to win it.
Unfortunately real life is tough like this...but don't give up (not that you would now), there is a lot of potential in this.
I have to agree. Ok, i would be aswell happier to have it as a first person game. But i am aswell good with the side scrolling version. The original Ecco i played and liked where aswell side scrollers. I think the side scrolling decision was aswell because of the tablet version. I image, that it is easier to control the game on this way. But donno exactly. I don't have a tablet.
The advertising lack was indeed something hurting the project. I heard about it first time, as the kickstarter was alreaedy over.
@Ed: This is what I have to say about the issues raised in the thread.
Other than planned obsolescence and a cash grab, there is no reason this needs to be in a PC game. With a PC game, the disc itself should be the DRM (just like consoles). The average consumer does not have the technical know-how or the patience to download and install specialty software to break the copy protection on a game disc. The ones who do will not be doing it anyway, they will just pirate it through some sort of download service because it's faster and a lot less trouble. There is no need that a legitimate customer should be punished with limited installs. If the game needs the disc to boot, problem solved. Just don't let the entire game install to the hard drive, program it so that the disc is needed to play. PS3 games do this. I'm sure you can even find a way to program the disc so that it has files that can not be read by an ordinary computer (console games do this when you pop them in a PC). For example, burned Dreamcast games will never work as smoothly as the official versions (even when the game is less than 700MB) because there are files the average computer can not read or copy to make them run properly when burned and popped in a Dreamcast.
For example, compared to an official copy of the Dreamcast version of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (a small game that can fit on a CD), a burned version will exhibit the following behavior on an actual Dreamcast console:
-Lower quality graphics and music
-Out of sync and even more compressed audio
-Very long load times
Digital VS Physical Media
Digital media relies on a few things:
-Customers who do not care and just want the game for a lower price
-Customers who are picky about physical space
-People picky about load times (even games installed to a hard drive still have load times so this is not really relevant).
Companies like digital media and consumers hate it because:
-They are the sole distributor and control the supply and the price
-You only pay to rent the game from them
-They can release a game as digital only to hold a game or series hostage and hope people will cave and purchase it instead of pirating it. This is the completely wrong way to go about it. Capcom has threatened to only release Phoenix Wright 5 as a digital download and has told the fans to shut up and be grateful for it instead of getting nothing. This is holding a game hostage and NOBODY will feel bad about pirating it if they hate the company.
-Companies like digital media because it eliminates used games. Ed, do NOT open the door to the used games debate, or I guarantee Playchemy will never live it down. Claiming gamers have no right to used games is permanent PR death for a person or company and rightfully so. If it brought Microsoft to it's knees, then Little Blue will not stand a chance. The whole "debate" itself is retarded. Companies are acting like self-entitled brats and are trying to turn it into a morality issue: they think they should make money off a second hand sale of someone else's legally purchased private property, simply because they manufactured it originally. They made their money when someone legally purchased it the first time, they do not deserve any more money than that. Apply that same logic to any other kind of product and you will see it does not hold water; The timber company does not deserve any of my money if I buy a log off my friend who bought it from them. Used games are also a legitimate way of "voting with your wallet" and protesting against a company. If you want a game but do not support the actions and attitudes of a company, then buy it used to punish them so you get the product but they do not get any of your money.
-You do not legally own digital-only games. If your account gets banned or your forget your password, you are out of luck and there is nothing you can do about it. There have been recent legal cases involving this with Steam, and they confirmed that you have no legal right to the "licenses" you are renting from them.
Why consumers like physical media:
-You actually own what you buy and it is your private property
-You can take it to a friend's house, lend it, resell it, play it where you want and do whatever else with it.
-You do not need to worry about game preservation because you own it and it is not hostage on some server.
-The used games market provides future availability for the game years after its release.
-I never have and I never will purchase a digital-only game. You should always provide a physical alternative for people like me. Digital releases are often only $5 to $10 cheaper, so it's not an unreasonable request.
-Digital media does not exist. If something happens to the device the download is stored on, or to your account, it is gone forever. This does not happen with physical games.
Please do not do this. You said that making exclusive content DLC is the developer giving the middle finger to you, and that is exactly how gamers think about it. I don't care about gimmicks like costume and map packs, but if a company releases major story content as DLC then I will not feel bad about pirating it.
Also, do not release new versions of the game with $10 of DLC on the disc and charge people full price for it. Capcom does this with their "ultimate" versions of games and charges $40 to $60 for it for all of $10 of new content. It is disgusting and gamers hate it.
Also, I do not think this would be a problem with you and your team, but this needs to be said anyway: do NOT use the possibility of connecting to servers for possible future updates and patches as an excuse for lazy development. If you release a buggy version of LB, that will forever tarnish its image and be the physical version that backers will be stuck with (the servers won't be around forever to install patches and updates). Development and quality assurance has to be done right the first time, just like making a game 20 years ago. The possibility of releasing patches and bug fixes online has made developers extremely lazy in recent years.
A recent example of this is Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut. The developers released it knowing it was a horrendously buggy, broken game and now they're expecting people to shut up and be happy with it and the possibility that they might release a patch in the future. The damage is done. When the PSN servers eventually go down (which I predict will be within the next 5 years), anyone buying the game will be stuck with the original broken version because the developers were arrogant and released a broken game to the consumer knowing they could just semi-fix it later if they felt like it.
As others have said, DRM will not fly on KS. I understand your vision to make LB/BB grow, but here is what I will suggest:
-Keep the DRM to the online portion of the game, players should be able to play and complete the game offline with no need to connect as you promised. If you want to make LB grow, then it will have to connect to servers anyway, the server itself is the DRM. But do not let online features seep into the offline portion of the game. This way it is non invasive and everybody wins. If you force DRM on an offline game, you WILL get a Sim City level disaster on your hands and NOBODY will support it. Seriously, do some quick research on why people hate EA, you'll get detailed histories. No one even feels bad about openly pirating their games anymore, especially after the extreme arrogance that was Sim City. As long as DRM is confined to when a game goes online and does not intrude on my offline experience (which means no mandatory connection to servers to play offline), then I do not care.