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PS4 indie kickstarter worries. Matt Gilgenbach: "You really don't have an idea"

Matt Gilgenbach is the developer of Neverending Nightmares (successfully funded yesterday on kickstarter), and Retro/Grade (PS3, PC). He said something insightful about the caution of people being excited on kickstarter for PS4/Vita ports, on the Neverending Nightmares end of kickstarter live stream yesterday. And some points about the difference between PS4 development for AAA vs indie studios.

http://www.twitch.tv/infinitapgames/b/466107307?t=23m04s

Neverending Nightmares could end up on PS4. It really comes down to a question of whether it makes sense financially. Making a console game is expensive.

It kinda worries me in general that if you look on Kickstarter, a lot of people are like 'oh we're doing Vita and PS4 and our kickstarter budget is like 30K'. And it's like, you haven't done console development before and you really don't have an idea of how much money it's going to take to do those things. It's expensive. Because usually you need professional QA, you need dev kits, you need to write specific code for all the consoles involved blah blah blah.​

I mean I haven't done PS4 development, but the cost is really writing your code for the particular console. And so everyone is like 'oh it's x86 and it's easy'. Certaintly there are some nice things about x86 but I feel like that only really matters if you're a AAA console developer and you're going to do super low level optimisation.​

I don't really know how much easier PS4 development will be for an indie. I think probably for a AAA studio, it's going to be a lot easier than previous generations just because it's a PC. So you don't have to learn how to maximise some crazy architecture but I don't think any indie games (maybe Retro/Grade really), maximise the architecture of the platform. Even Retro/Grade, we could've done a lot more on the CPU if we really wanted to max everything out.​

As someone who's not a developer, that gave me food for thought.
 

Fuzzy

I would bang a hot farmer!
Matt Gilgenbach: "You really don't have an idea, and neither do I"

Fixed the thread title for you.
 

Toma

Let me show you through these halls, my friend, where treasures of indie gaming await...
Interesting, but then again:

I mean I haven't done PS4 development

So he doesnt know either whether that stuff is feasible or not. Besides, I cant remember most of these PS4/Vita announcements being 30k projects. Hyper Light Drifter had that stretch goal at 200k or something?

Plus, its sort of in line with a thread we had a while ago about Kickstarter projects overpromising because of developers not properly judging the hidden costs, which isnt only porting. Even stuff as simple as adding more characters/story/art/music and rewards for backers.
 

DY_nasty

NeoGAF's official "was this shooting justified" consultant
"I'm not sure one way or the other but I do have an opinion" is what I got from this.
 

Y2Kev

TLG Fan Caretaker Est. 2009
This seems like a no brainer. You need to program for a specific platform, you need QA, and you need a dev kit (Sony has made those basically free). Are these worries or like...a reminder that ps4 games cost money?

I mean I haven't done PS4 development, but the cost is really writing your code for the particular console.

I mean...yeah...
 

James Coote

Neo Member
The flip side is that a lot of indie games (certainly the ones I intend to make), won't even come close to pushing the PS4 or Xbox One graphics / CPU wise.

It really depends on the tools. If everyone is going to be using Unity3D (and are targeting much lower spec mobile), then it really comes down to luck of the draw how well the underlying engine clicks with the target platform. From my experience on OUYA, some games seem to almost perform better than mobile for which they were first created, and get great frame rates straight off the bat. While others, using a different set of effects, shaders etc, need more profiling and adjusting / fine tuning to get performance up to acceptable level
 

Finalizer

Member
Didn't the Octodad devs say that their PS4 port only took a few weeks or sumfin'? Sounded like the whole x86 deal was really making things easier for developers across the board, but of course it's naturally going to take some effort.
 

Hermii

Member
Woudnt an advantage with so much power be that you can be miles away from matching out the architecture and still get your average indie game running beatifully even if its not optimized at all?
 
It's probably deep in NDA country, but I'd like to know the cost of releasing an indy PS4 game. As someone mentioned, Sony lends (they don't give) dev kits to indies for free. As far as I know it's a one year deal initially.
 

casmith07

Member
Maybe all someone needs in order to get the proper equipment and resources to develop a game is $30K...I think these comments by him are a little short-sighted.

There are plenty Kickstarter and Indie developers out there who don't need millions to develop a game -- they are doing it with their own time and hard work.
 
Didn't the Octodad devs say that their PS4 port only took a few weeks or sumfin'? Sounded like the whole x86 deal was really making things easier for developers across the board, but of course it's naturally going to take some effort.

I think what happened was that Sony sent those guys a dev kit and within three weeks they had a playable portion of Octodad on the PS4 to show in return.
 

Amin_and_Azizah

Neo Member
Unless the game is made exclusively for the Wii U, I don't think games utilizing the Unity engine will be cheap. This is probably the first true sign the programing for ps4 will be much higher for indies than programing for the Wii U.
 

MMaRsu

Banned
Yeah so just be careful investing into any kickstarters. I know I haven't made one contribution to society.
 
Isn't the issue with Wii U just acquiring the devkit? I imagine most of the indie games that are going PS4/Vita are getting lent devkits and their funds are being spent on the licenses.

Nintendo is lending out free devkits to quite a few indies too, maybe not as many as sony are but still quite a few

even if they don't wii u devkit = $2K-ish ps4 unity licence = $30K-ish
 

antonz

Member
Mr. Gilgenbach brings up a fantastic point some dont understand and its automatically dismiss what he says and mock him. The Armchair developers on gaf.

Lets talk some real world numbers here.

Indie Developer A is using Unity to make Revenge of the Tyrannosaurs for WIIU and sets up kickstarter seeking 30k. As is the usual case people then start calling for a PS4/XBONE port so they say sure and set a extended goal of 60k to get PS4/XBONE ports assuming doubling their funds will be more than enough for the extra effort.

WIIU version is finished and ready to go and publish for $0.
PS4 version is finished but unlike Nintendo Sony never made a deal so suddenly Developer A needs $40,000 just to publish the title on PSN.
XBONE version is finished but unlike NIntendo. Microsoft never made a deal so suddenly Developer A needs another $40,000 to publish on XBL.

Suddenly Developer A needs $80,000 just to publish Revenge of Tyrannosaurs on PSN/XBL when his entire Project to make the game didnt even get that much funding yet now there is a problem of him taking peoples money for something he has now way to deliver on.

People are creating projects and promising results that realistically they wont be able to deliver
 
This seems like a no brainer. You need to program for a specific platform, you need QA, and you need a dev kit (Sony has made those basically free). Are these worries or like...a reminder that ps4 games cost money?



I mean...yeah...

It basically is a reminder. He saw some Kickstarters with a low budget saying they are going to make PC/PS4/Vita editions of their games with the Kickstarter money. Now he wants to remind people that it isn't going to be gratis to develop these ports but is actually going to cost them more than they think. Most likely.

That's my understanding of it at least.
 
I agree but he's saying that from a position of no first hand knowledge. He thinks he knows but he really doesn't, just like the devs he's warning.

He's coming from a position of common sense at the very least. I don't have first hand experience developing a crowdfunded game and porting to console, and I could tell you without a doubt that releasing on consoles would cost more than the (relative) pittance that a lot of kickstarters ask for.
 
He's coming from a position of common sense at the very least. I don't have first hand experience developing a crowdfunded game and porting to console, and I could tell you without a doubt that releasing on consoles would cost more than the (relative) pittance that a lot of kickstarters ask for.

Precisely.
 
Mr. Gilgenbach brings up a fantastic point some dont understand and its automatically dismiss what he says and mock him. The Armchair developers on gaf.

Lets talk some real world numbers here.

Indie Developer A is using Unity to make Revenge of the Tyrannosaurs for WIIU and sets up kickstarter seeking 30k. As is the usual case people then start calling for a PS4/XBONE port so they say sure and set a extended goal of 60k to get PS4/XBONE ports assuming doubling their funds will be more than enough for the extra effort.

WIIU version is finished and ready to go and publish for $0.
PS4 version is finished but unlike Nintendo Sony never made a deal so suddenly Developer A needs $40,000 just to publish the title on PSN.
XBONE version is finished but unlike NIntendo. Microsoft never made a deal so suddenly Developer A needs another $40,000 to publish on XBL.

Suddenly Developer A needs $80,000 just to publish Revenge of Tyrannosaurs on PSN/XBL when his entire Project to make the game didnt even get that much funding yet now there is a problem of him taking peoples money for something he has now way to deliver on.

People are creating projects and promising results that realistically they wont be able to deliver

The Kickstarters I've seen that promise both Wii U and PS4/Vita/whatever ports (on Unity, anyways) usually build the additional license fees for the other platforms into their stretch goals. Admittedly, I haven't been paying close attention to Kickstarter lately so I totally believe there are some projects that aren't taking this into account, but there are at least some people doing this more responsibly.
 

Zia

Member
There's not a press a to port button.

This guy isn't saying nonsense or has some anti Sony agenda

Yeah, I don't understand the hostility. Matt is a programmer's programmer who is simply recommending caution. Though I understand the architectural differences between the PS3 and PS4, look at the issues Vlambeer has had bringing Luftrausers to Vita and PS3, all the while a finished version of Luftrausers PC(s) sits on a hard drive for what's now been months. Though the PS4 looks accessible from afar, most one-to-two man studios are ill-equipped to cope with the time and monetary investment of simply dealing with cert, if they're coming from the PC or mobile space. That unfamiliarity with first-time publishing on a Sony console has had a massive negative impact on some good games, including Dyad and Closure, due to the complexities of international publishing resulting in staggered launches.
 

Coxy

Member
" you need dev kits"

he really doesnt know what he's talking about, sony is giving loaners for free
 
Yeah, I don't understand the hostility. Matt is a programmer's programmer who is simply recommending caution. Though I understand the architectural differences between the PS3 and PS4, look at the issues Vlambeer has had bringing Luftrausers to Vita and PS3, all the while a finished version of Luftrausers PC(s) sits on a hard drive for what's now been months. Though the PS4 looks accessible from afar, most one-to-two man studios are ill-equipped to cope with the time and monetary investment of simply dealing with cert, if they're coming from the PC or mobile space. That unfamiliarity with first-time publishing on a Sony console has had a massive negative impact on some good games, including Dyad and Closure, due to the complexities of international publishing resulting in staggered launches.

Was annoyed that Closure never made it to EU, understand why though.
It's the one thing that always bothered me and still does about Sony, scee, scea and scee, it's all splintered and it shouldn't be, not in this day in age.
 

antonz

Member
The Kickstarters I've seen that promise both Wii U and PS4/Vita/whatever ports (on Unity, anyways) usually build the additional license fees for the other platforms into their stretch goals. Admittedly, I haven't been paying close attention to Kickstarter lately so I totally believe there are some projects that aren't taking this into account, but there are at least some people doing this more responsibly.

Oh for sure. There was one on here recently and people were saying how dumb they were because the WiiU version was so low on the cost tree while they were demanding so much more to do PS4 then even more to do XBONE.

This was a group of people who realized it was going to cost them a hell of alot extra to make the ports and priced it properly. Too many people have fallen for all the PR hype over indies and think its just so easy to develop for everyone.
 
Oh for sure. There was one on here recently and people were saying how dumb they were because the WiiU version was so low on the cost tree while they were demanding so much more to do PS4 then even more to do XBONE.

This was a group of people who realized it was going to cost them a hell of alot extra to make the ports and priced it properly. Too many people have fallen for all the PR hype over indies and think its just so easy to develop for everyone.

i do think developers should make it pretty clear in BIG BOLD TEXT on their kickstarters about the free unity licence for wii u
 
Oh for sure. There was one on here recently and people were saying how dumb they were because the WiiU version was so low on the cost tree while they were demanding so much more to do PS4 then even more to do XBONE.

This was a group of people who realized it was going to cost them a hell of alot extra to make the ports and priced it properly. Too many people have fallen for all the PR hype over indies and think its just so easy to develop for everyone.

So your "solution" is to only develop for the gigantic WiiU market? The PS4 will most likely be the best-selling console nextgen which makes it still a very good choice for indies despite a few (fixable) problems. And Sony is actually very helpful towards indies, they are even giving away free dev kits.
 

antonz

Member
Gemüsepizza;84098127 said:
And your "solution" is to develop for the gigantic WiiU market? Yeah right. The PS4 will most likely be the best-selling console nextgen which makes it still a very good choice for indies despite a few (fixable) problems. And Sony is actually very helpful towards indies, they are even giving away free dev kits.

You are totally missing the point.


A free dev kit means shit for all when you need to pay Unity $40,000 to put your game on PSN. I am not advocating developing for Wii U only at all. Im pointing out the fact too many people think a free dev kit and a reach around by Sony or Microsoft suddenly pays for everything. If your a big enough name maybe Sony will pay for you but if you aren't better find that 40k
 
Gemüsepizza;84098127 said:
So your "solution" is to develop for the gigantic WiiU market? Yeah right. The PS4 will most likely be the best-selling console nextgen which makes it still a very good choice for indies despite a few (fixable) problems. And Sony is actually very helpful towards indies, they are even giving away free dev kits.

well so far wii u eshop games seem to be selling pretty well
 

Septimius

Junior Member
I don't get this thread. It seems to be about the difficulty of developing for the PS4 for indie, with no word on how it is to develop on the PS4 for indie.
 
You are totally missing the point.

A free dev kit means shit for all when you need tp pay Unity $40,000 to put your game on PSN.

And how is this a problem of Sony / the PS4? The problem is licensing costs of Unity. Unity is not made by Sony, and nobody is forced to use this engine for development.
 
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