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The XNA Indie Games Official Thread

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SapientWolf

Trucker Sexologist
Jul 4, 2004
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Princess Skittles said:
You're right, to some degree. Regardless of this, seeing Baby Maker Extreme and Try Not to Fart in the top two spots of the Most Downloaded games list every week (along with pretty much everything in that list) has to be a huge demotivator for anybody not developing pure garbage. It's EXTREMELY damaging to the entire service to have these types of games on there.
Those two titles sound like the worst of the worst indie shovelware but they aren't nearly as bad as what you might expect. But they are extremely crass and juvenile, which is something that you would never see in a retail or XBLA game. So they always end up in the list because people are talking about them.

The impression I'm getting with XBLIG is that the ability to stand out of the crowd trumps production values. Humor goes a long way. It's the same concept behind viral YouTube videos. That might decrease the number of high production value games but it might also encourage more garage programmers to contribute.
 

segarr

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Feb 13, 2005
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karobit said:
This is an appropriate analogy. Games are just like perishable goods!
They are not perishable but if a rotten egg is in a fridge, it's stinks the whole thing up making the fridge as a whole undesirable, no? Anyways, I'm done with the analogies so you can eat a dick with the sarcasm.
 

mollipen

Member
Oct 7, 2005
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morningproject.com
segarr said:
I wish MS would just purge the channel, take the 50 or so best games hand-picked by someone like toythatkills, Gowans, or Kafel, and refund the subscriptions of all the Creator's Club members. It's radical but I think you would have at least 50 games that are actually worth buying and none of the junk to turn everyone off with. Obviously you would let everyone keep what they already bought but just please take the crap off the marketplace for chrissakes. There are over 1000 now! After that, end the service or vet each new game by panel.

This is the absolute worst thing you could do to Indies, because you're essentially killing exactly what it's supposed to be. It's supposed to be a platform for anybody to put up any crazy ideas they come up with, and that's the exact reason that I enjoy it. No way in hell do I want or trust MS to pick any set amount of "worthwhile" games, because their opinion of worth and mine are probably quite different at times.

If we want to encourage Microsoft to create a better method for showcasing the true stars of the Indies section, then great! However, killing the entire purpose of the section is an utterly moronic idea.
 

karobit

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Mar 20, 2008
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segarr said:
They are not perishable but if a rotten egg is in a fridge, it's stinks the whole thing up making the fridge as a whole undesirable, no? Anyways, I'm done with the analogies so you can eat a dick with the sarcasm.

Look for my new XBLIG Eat A DIck With The Sarcasm, coming soon.
 

nli10

Member
Nov 16, 2005
3,244
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karobit said:
Look for my new XBLIG Eat A DIck With The Sarcasm, coming soon.

I'll top that with "Zombies Eat An Avatar Dick With The Sarcasm HD" for maximum sales.


It is tempting to get into the whole Indie games making thing, but I never even managed to finish a decent game on that tool kit they released for kids to learn programming with...
 

segarr

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Feb 13, 2005
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shidoshi said:
This is the absolute worst thing you could do to Indies, because you're essentially killing exactly what it's supposed to be. It's supposed to be a platform for anybody to put up any crazy ideas they come up with, and that's the exact reason that I enjoy it. No way in hell do I want or trust MS to pick any set amount of "worthwhile" games, because their opinion of worth and mine are probably quite different at times.

If we want to encourage Microsoft to create a better method for showcasing the true stars of the Indies section, then great! However, killing the entire purpose of the section is an utterly moronic idea.
I really wish it was like that, but everything is for pay on here. That kills the "I'll just try this crazy idea and see what people think" aspect of it. People told MS that at the beginning and they didn't listen. It's mostly just wannabe businessmen like JForce who come off as very naive. Right now, it's the fart, massage, zombie, avatar piece of crap game that was made by people with such little skill, effort, or even graphical sensibilities that it's hard to figure out how they were even able to put this stuff together at all.

Look at this thread





I can't look at these covers without wondering how these people can even turn on a computer if they think this looks good enough to sell to people.

It's no wonder MS doesn't really promote the channel. They can't with this stuff in it. That why I said they should just remove the junk and keep what is good. You say you don't trust MS to decide what is good and that's understandable but eventually someone has to do it for the sake of what is actually deserving of being on Live. There were REAL developers who were dying to put stuff on this thing but they can't right now because the latest avatar fart app will push them right off into invisibility and that's just unfair.

I so didn't want to turn this thread into another retrospective, reflective look at XBLIG either but now that we have the monthly threads for the good games, it's not so bad I guess.
 
Oct 17, 2006
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For the new batch of windows phone 7 games coming in a few months will they go in this thread or will we start a new one?

I think a new thread for those games may be better to remove confusion.
 

Sanic

Member
Oct 30, 2009
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segarr said:
Long post about the service

But a lot of that stuff sells, or at least has a better chance to sell than any decent game that requires actual effort. The indie games service is an interesting platform and I could probably write posts worth of thoughts on it and the people involved with it, but I just don't see the kind of games being released changing anytime soon.
 

Noogy

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Jan 5, 2009
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noogy.com
segarr said:

First off I created that thread, and secondly it's a thread for developers looking for help on how to IMPROVE their covers. Posting drafts and making those kinds of remarks are in poor taste. Not every team can afford a grade-A artist.

Yes, not everything that comes out is gold, but your making some ridiculous suggestions. Yes, the service isn't perfect, but as an indie developer it's offered such a wonderful opportunity, and there have been some real gems to come out of it.
 

ShogunX

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Mar 6, 2009
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Noogy said:
First off I created that thread, and secondly it's a thread for developers looking for help on how to IMPROVE their covers. Posting drafts and making those kinds of remarks are in poor taste. Not every team can afford a grade-A artist.

Yes, not everything that comes out is gold, but your making some ridiculous suggestions. Yes, the service isn't perfect, but as an indie developer it's offered such a wonderful opportunity, and there have been some real gems to come out of it.

You should try and direct a few people who need help with covers badly to GAF as I'm sure a few people wouldn't mind seeing their work on the Indie marketplace. A lot of covers look like they have been done in MS paint and therefore are hard to take seriously as a game offering any sort of quality.

I know you cant exactly judge a book by its cover and all that but having poor cover art surely puts people off the game itself.
 

Noogy

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Jan 5, 2009
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Shogun PaiN said:
You should try and direct a few people who need help with covers badly to GAF as I'm sure a few people wouldn't mind seeing their work on the Indie marketplace. A lot of covers look like they have been done in MS paint and therefore are hard to take seriously as a game offering any sort of quality.

I know you cant exactly judge a book by its cover and all that but having poor cover art surely puts people off the game itself.

I agree. That's why I started the thread. Most of the devs there are strictly programmers, so I've tried to push them to work a little harder (or hire artists) since the cover is crucial to sales. In general I think we've been doing much better, but it's not an easy thing to do.

I've actually posted on Gaf suggesting that artists get involved, as it's incredibly rewarding work. They could definitely use an influx of more good artists. There are some incredibly talented programmers there.
 

JFizzle

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Jan 1, 2009
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Noogy, I don’t know why you would bring that argument to a hardcore gamer forum. These are not the people who buy massage apps. But now I have to respond here...I’ll try to make this my only post on this so yall can go back to discussing the games...

Ok, so look, there is clearly a demand for another massage app. If people bought the last online massage app (which came out a year and half ago, so many current channel surfers aren’t even aware of it) then surely many of them would buy another one that has avatar support. It makes perfect sense. I guarantee you there are thousands of people who would absolutely love this. Who are you to say that these people shouldn’t get what they want? Just because you and other hardcore gamers/developers don’t like these apps? Call me a hypocrite, but I think that is pretty selfish. It is very anti-consumer.

It’s like some people don’t understand the basic concept of supply and demand. As long as there’s consumer demand for a product then the developers will supply it to them. These developers are not being “greedy,” they’re operating their business the way almost every business in the world is operated. A business gives the consumers what they want. This is how every industry works, and it’s as if some of you want to change XBLIG into something that can never exist, something that isn’t comprehensible; an “ideal” marketplace that only has “quality games” (according to you) that deals away with quick “cash-in” games that you personally don’t like. This will never happen because it doesn’t make any sense.

Games like Baby Maker Extreme, Try Not to Fart, those ‘talking to girls’ apps, the massage apps, etc...as long as there’s something new devs can do with these types of games, then they aren’t going away, ever, because the market is eating them up. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Blame the consumers for not having tastes in-line with yours, not the developers for feeding them. This is life. But I’ll tell you this, these games are NOT damaging the channel. If anything they are increasing traffic to the channel. The top selling games get more people talking, more people spreading them, and most importantly they're making Microsoft money! If MS doesn't make enough money from indie games they could just eliminate the channel altogether for their next console, right? Either way, I can not fathom how a top selling game could decrease channel traffic. Top sellers increase channel traffic! Surely they bring & keep more people in than they turn away. That makes sense. And a top seller is not “shovelware." The games that are shovelware, the ones that are actually damaging the channel, are the crappy games that don’t sell. Games like “The War of the End of the Days.” *shudders*

Lastly, and we're getting really sick of hearing this, but what in the world does “wading through the crap” entail? Can somebody explicitly describe this ‘wading process’ to us? Is it such a burden for you to press the joystick to the right and skip over the games you don’t like? Did you know you can browse games by genre and then sort by top rated or best selling? The interface is fine. And there’s always going to be crappy games, this is the reality of an open platform. You can't eat your cake and then have it too. So I don’t get these complaints at all. But point is, a handful of massage apps out of all 1200+ games isn’t going to make your "wading" anymore difficult, especially if there's only 1 or 2 massage apps on one of the main lists. Just skip over it. How is this an issue?


Now, Noogy, let me say that we here at JForce have a TON of respect for you. We were actually talking about you just a few weeks ago and we came to the conclusion that you’re the single most talented, or at least the most well-rounded game developer in the entire world, literally. If we were forced to choose just one person to make the best game possible, we’d choose you over everyone out there. Carmack, Myamoto, David Rosen, anybody. And the fact that you were able to learn programming so quickly and get Dust made so quickly really makes us admire your work ethic.

But when you says things like this:

Noogy said:
I just don't like the idea of someone putting their heart and soul into a game for a year, only to have it bumped off the new releases because someone else spent a few days on a cash-in.
...it sort of makes me lose some respect for you. This is just an incredibly irrational thing to say. If somebody spent a year on a game only to have it bumped off right away then they failed to make a compelling game for the audience they chose to release to, and/or they didn’t have good marketing. No exceptions. They have only themselves to blame. I hate it when devs make excuses, blaming the failure of a game on anything but the quality of the game or quality of the marketing effort. It is always the developer's fault when their game performs poorly. Always.

And what does it matter how much time was spent on the game? For the vast majority of consumers all that matters is the end result.


Noogy said:
It's very hurtful when they approach both their peers and competitors with that sort of attitude

What is wrong with our attitude? The only legitimate complaint you can say is that we’re arrogant. Yeah I know that’s annoying to some people, especially to you I bet since you’re like the most humble developer ever. Although I would rather people say we’re just very ‘optimistic’ rather than the more negative word :p ...but look, we're just trying to be entertaining, like Ocho-Cinco. A lot of people hate him cuz he's arrogant and talks smack, but he's one of my favorite players because the stuff he says and does is just funny to me. Instead of getting upset at him like other people do, I get entertained. I laugh. And JForce has quite a few fans for that very reason. I just wish more people were like me in this regard, being entertained at stuff like this, being happy, instead of being annoyed or upset. It just seems like such a better way to be, right? LET'S ALL JUST BE HAPPY.

Anyway, that’s about all I got here. I’m being as reasonable and as objective as I can possibly be. I’m sorry if I upset people with this, that’s not my intention. I’m just trying to get more people to understand where we’re coming from, and explain how what we’re doing isn't “wrong” or “selfish” or anything like that. There is nothing wrong with a cash-grab. We are giving this audience what they want.

And don’t get us wrong, it’s not like we’re only ever going to make market-determined games. We have plenty of games that we’re going to make just because we want to play them, ideas we’re really passionate about. But if we have money first, build some capital first, we can make those game so much better, exactly what we want them to be. The more money we have the better those games will be, and our chances of keeping our company alive and continuing full-time work are higher. I think this is a great strategy, make money-making games first (especially right now when we have such a good opportunity) and then use that money to fund the games we’ve always dreamed of making. That’s exactly what we’re doing here.


Stumpokapow said:
I'm not going to buy his shitty twin-stick shooter when it does get released.
Would you mind explaining why? We really hope you reconsider once you see our revamped graphics and the hilarious cutscenes Egoraptor is making for us and all the other awesome weapons we’ll have.

But we'd be pretty upset and confused if the only reason you don't buy Unstoppable is because one of our previous games wasn’t made for you.


-Jeremy
 

JFizzle

Neo Member
Jan 1, 2009
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jforcegames.com
Pandoracell said:
Now go post that on the Creator's Club forum ;)
I wish I could but they locked the thread! I should have written something like this in my original post there, because we think this is a really good post. I don't know why these kinda words didn't come to me originally.

-Jeremy
 

Sanic

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Oct 30, 2009
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JFizzle said:
I wish I could but they locked the thread! I should have written something like this in my original post there, because we think this is a really good post. I don't know why these kinda words didn't come to me originally.

-Jeremy

Ah, I haven't checked the CC forums in about a week, I guess something came up? I'll go have a look.

But I really do think many people over there should give this post a read, if they ever come across it. Thanks for writing it up.

EDIT: Oh, I see the thread you made. The first few replies :lol. I mean, I have a lot of respect for those people and this is a complicated issue, but I just can't agree with them.
 

Kafel

Banned
Dec 5, 2005
12,212
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JFizzle said:
Would you mind explaining why? We really hope you reconsider once you see our revamped graphics and the hilarious cutscenes Egoraptor is making for us and all the other awesome weapons we’ll have.

Care to put a video of your progress on youtube soon ? So you're not only known as the "massage app bastards". :lol
 

coamithra

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Dec 14, 2008
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A counter to the "we're giving the people what they want" argument could be that novelty apps such as Date my Sister, Massage Theorem and Fart in a Glass have shunned all but the most juvenile of gamers away from the system thereby, ipso facto, becoming the top selling apps.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
17,232
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JFizzle said:
Would you mind explaining why? We really hope you reconsider once you see our revamped graphics and the hilarious cutscenes Egoraptor is making for us and all the other awesome weapons we’ll have.

But we'd be pretty upset and confused if the only reason you don't buy Unstoppable is because one of our previous games wasn’t made for you.

It's a boring, inspirationless genre of game. I MAED A GAME WITH ZOMBIES was stupid. Dracula: Undead Awakening is bad. All of the iPhone games in the genre are weak. Every game in the genre lacks the sort of zen state that the best arcade games cause, and the games that shun being arcadey in favour of being meatier in content fail even harder, because it's not compelling gameplay. I am reminded of the GAF dev who made the excellent snake clone for Xbox Indies. It really was a great snake clone, very polished, lots of content... but it's still in a genre that I wouldn't ever purchase.

Your game in particular looks bland, and it's not just the graphics that make it look bland. There's nothing presented in in the trailer that evokes any kind of response in me. I don't see any reason why even someone interested in the genre would pick the game based on what's presented. Assuming it had the world's most appealing graphics and "hilarious cutscenes", then it still wouldn't be of interest.

The hubris with which you conduct yourself dealing with the game is another strike against you. It's not going to be the best game ever. It's not going to be the best indie game ever. It's not going to be the best Xbox Indies game ever. Half of the appeal of supporting the indie community and taking a chance on indie games is the humble passion that the developers exude. There's no one out there that doesn't respect a developer like Notch or Pixel or Derek Yu (or if you want to pick indie developers who haven't released anything--Noogy or Polytron) because of the ways that they carry themselves.

The cynicism of making a massage app, which in your own words was a cash grab, and then trying to defend it on the grounds that "Hey, if someone buys it, you can't insult it" is just insane. People buy $500 animated GIFs for Farmville-style games, and it's equally cynical that those companies make their businesses off it. In fact, your cynicism is even worse, because you have no intention of supplying that market, you're using them to fuel what you actually want to do.

Also, while it's true that massage apps don't make up the majority of the sewage on the XNA service (by and large, the majority of the bad stuff is by garage programmers making their first game in their spare time and with no experience), most people are a lot more ready to forgive failed content that represents sincere effort than comically stupid content that represents a calculated effort to extra dollars and provide no creative expression in return.
 

xbhaskarx

Member
Aug 13, 2007
32,784
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JForce Games said:
Point of all this is, you can’t get mad at a business for chasing easy money, you should really just be mad at the consumers. Supply and demand, yo.

So yeah, this is the epitome of a shameless cash-grab.

:lol :lol

Interesting stuff, this reminds me of interviews I have seen with people who make their living sending millions of spam emails and guys who movies hoping people will mistake them for blockbusters with similar names.

Kafel said:
So why do you bring it here ? Can't you mind your own business ?

WTF? As someone who doesn't read the XNA forums, I'm glad Noogy posted that here, considering this is the Indie Games thread. If people didn't post things on GAF that originated elsewhere, this forum would be dead aside from girl-age and lttp threads.
 

JFizzle

Neo Member
Jan 1, 2009
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jforcegames.com
Guys, I really don't want to derail this thread more, but I can't help but respond to this stuff...

Stumpokapow said:
Half of the appeal of supporting the indie community and taking a chance on indie games is the humble passion that the developers exude.

To you and a tiny sliver of buyers, yes. To the vast majority of buyers, especially on XBLIG, not at all. By and large all that matters to a potential buyer is the game itself. This is the way things should be and it's the way things are. Just look at the best selling games for proof. Many of those developers don't have websites. And most of the XBLIG players wouldn't visit them even if they did. Most of these players don't even know who the developer is at all.

The cynicism of making a massage app, which in your own words was a cash grab, and then trying to defend it on the grounds that "Hey, if someone buys it, you can't insult it" is just insane. People buy $500 animated GIFs for Farmville-style games, and it's equally cynical that those companies make their businesses off it. In fact, your cynicism is even worse, because you have no intention of supplying that market, you're using them to fuel what you actually want to do.

How am I being cynical? And what you are trying to say here? Shame on us for exploiting people's inability to control their spending? As if we're forcing them to spend a whole dollar? That's ridiculous. And I never said you can't insult it. I'm saying you have no right to decide that a massage app shouldn't be on the service when people clearly want it. And how are we not supplying the market??? And why can't we supply the market and use that money to fuel us at the same time? None of this makes any sense man.

most people are a lot more ready to forgive failed content that represents sincere effort than comically stupid content that represents a calculated effort to extra dollars and provide no creative expression in return.

Wait, are you saying they'll "forgive it" as in they'll buy it? Really? “Oh, I don’t care that this is a bad game, I can tell they put a lot of effort into this, so I’ll buy it anyway.” Again, look at the best selling games, these "calculated efforts" (oh noez not a calculated effort!), for clear evidence against this. I really can't believe you said "most people.” And if by “forgive” you don’t mean “buy” then it doesn’t matter.

Stumpo, can you try coming up with a more objective and succinct argument based on something other than your feelings? Something like: "this is what you should do, and this why you should do it" would be a good start :p


coamithra said:
A counter to the "we're giving the people what they want" argument could be that novelty apps such as Date my Sister, Massage Theorem and Fart in a Glass have shunned all but the most juvenile of gamers away from the system thereby, ipso facto, becoming the top selling apps.

So what can be done about this? Doesn't this just lead back to my whole "wading" argument? And the realities of an open platform?

-Jeremy
 

Tenkei

Member
Jun 8, 2004
305
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JFizzle, my issue with you is that you approach indie development the same way that many large corporations approach the overall market; you exploit an audience for a short-term profit, quality and long-term outlook be damned.

As an indie, I want people to like my games, and to look forward to my next one. That means, to me, that a game I release for other people to play is a game that I myself want to play, and would be proud to have made. It may not be a financially profitable belief, but you know what, the reason I decided to focus on indie development full-time is that I hated having to cancel projects just because someone else crunched the numbers and figured that no profit could be made. Cancelling a project because I couldn't make it fun, on the other hand...
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
17,232
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JFizzle said:
Stumpo, can you try coming up with a more objective and succinct argument based on something other than your feelings?

Err, no?

Of course my purchase habits are based on what I feel about games and what I feel about the people making games. Why on earth would my purchase habits be based on what I think the idiots who buy massage apps think?
 

JFizzle

Neo Member
Jan 1, 2009
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jforcegames.com
Tenkei said:
JFizzle, my issue with you is that you approach indie development the same way that many large corporations approach the overall market; you exploit an audience for a short-term profit, quality and long-term outlook be damned.

As an indie, I want people to like my games, and to look forward to my next one. That means, to me, that a game I release for other people to play is a game that I myself want to play, and would be proud to have made. It may not be a financially profitable belief, but you know what, the reason I decided to focus on indie development full-time is that I hated having to cancel projects just because someone else crunched the numbers and figured that no profit could be made. Cancelling a project because I couldn't make it fun, on the other hand...

Your issue with us is reasonable. I get that. But I just want to stress that we're not always going to take this corporate approach. I'm right there with you, I gotta ton of ideas that I absolutely want to see made into games because I'd love playing them, and I can't wait to make 'em. This might be the most enjoyable job I could imagine; I really do love designing games. But we're definitely thinking long-term with this approach. One of my points is that if we make market-determined games first, just to make money, then we'll be able to get our dream games made much easier (our dream games are pretty ambitious and they require big budgets :D )

-Jeremy
 
That's too bad JForce - sorry to hear that you're okay with purposely releasing junk to turn a quick buck. That's ethically putrid, but you made it clear that you're cool with that - to each their own I guess.

You guise it well with rhetoric about "giving people what they want," and funding a legit project. Seems like a smokescreen for laziness. Or like you are trying to convince yourself that it's not really lame. It's lame - you might as well admit that too?

You love gaming the system it seems. Like you're passionate about it. Even this is obviously just "controversy breeds attention" marketing.

You're sort of a sad story right now, but it is hard to stop reading it. My one wish for you is that if you ever do release your main title, that it is surrounded by terrible redundent fart and massage apps that outsell it. Hey maybe they will be your own right?
 

Noogy

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Jan 5, 2009
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JFizzle said:
But when you says things like this:

Noogy said:
I just don't like the idea of someone putting their heart and soul into a game for a year, only to have it bumped off the new releases because someone else spent a few days on a cash-in.

...it sort of makes me lose some respect for you. This is just an incredibly irrational thing to say. If somebody spent a year on a game only to have it bumped off right away then they failed to make a compelling game for the audience they chose to release to, and/or they didn’t have good marketing. No exceptions.

But that's now how new releases work. Devs can't control how long their game is up there, or even when it goes up. It's not a 'greatest of' list. And it's been proven time and time again that the new releases list is key to getting a game started. Often times I see a great game I've been following for months finally hit the list, then four crappy cash-ins jump ahead of it on the same day. Being bumped off has absolutely nothing to do with marketing or quality.

JFizzle said:
What is wrong with our attitude? The only legitimate complaint you can say is that we’re arrogant.

I don't think you guys are arrogant. I just think it's a shame coming from a dev who understands the strain of working on a long-term project. I can assure you, if I were to suddenly say "Well, I'm taking time off from my game to make some cash-ins", it wouldn't really earn me any points among my peers and fans.

I think you've guys got something cool on your hands. And if you have confidence in it, there are more traditional ways of getting funding (banks, publishers, etc).

JFizzle said:
But we'd be pretty upset and confused if the only reason you don't buy Unstoppable is because one of our previous games wasn’t made for you.

That's one of the reasons this is an issue. Indies thrive on word of mouth, respect, and history. It's not like you're Ubisoft who doesn't really worry about their budget-games department affecting the reception of their marquis titles.
 

Seph13

Neo Member
Jul 9, 2009
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As an Xbox Indie Games developer in a slightly similar situation (Exhibit A , Exhibit B) to JFizzle let me say a few things:


First, I don't think any indie developer starts out hoping to game the system. Nobody sits down and says, "I'm going to use this platform for games- and release a minimal effort product that will be specifically tailored to make ME money." Instead he starts out learning the language, game design, and whatever else is needed to make a game. Somewhere in the back of his mind are a multitude of lofty game ideas. The last thing this new developer wants to make is a program that makes the controllers vibrate.

Soon, however, it becomes clear that making a decent polished game takes time. That game you spent your entire childhood dreaming up isn't going to be made (in any worthwhile state) over the summer. And as much as the developer would love to devote the next year of his life to working on the project, that is simply unfeasible. Work, school, and everything else take up so much time so that what is left is pretty sacred. Devoting all your free time to learning a language and developing your skillset while any semblance of payment is at least a year away is, needless to say, difficult.

Then you look at the current state of Xbox Indie Games and you see all these low quality apps and games floating about. "Surely people don't pay money for this?" you ask yourself. But people do. Rumble Massage made its creator at least $60,000. How do you think the developer feels to see a "game" like this make more money than his dream-project will likely make after a year of work? Of course it is disheartening, but even more is the feeling of: "I could do better. Sure I just started learning C#, XNA, game design, or whatever- but already my ability is above this."

And with that idea implanted it becomes difficult to invest that little free time in your dream game. The idea that your effort could go to waste because it's bumped off the new releases because of somebody else's new Avatar/Zombie/Fart/Massage shovelware cashcow. The idea that your game's intrinsic quality/value won't be enough to make up for the time and effort you put in. Eventually the developer gives in: "Just this once. I'll make something to fund my pet project. It won't be great, but it will sell and at least I can see a little immediate return on my decision to learn XNA."


I know this turned into a bit of an autobiography, but I don't think this situation is all that unique. I certainly see it in the whole JForce Games story. I don't blame JFizzle for his decision. Though I do think he has inflated expectations due to the success of his Avatar Showdown game (around 40,000 sales already, right?). That's a sizable chunk of change, especially for student. I don't think you will be so lucky, however, when the the Zombie Massage game inevitably passes peer review. The massage fad has come and gone.

The point I've been trying to get across through all this nonsense is: the current state of the Xbox Indie Games service makes it difficult to resist releasing these quick little cashcows.

Personally, I resent the fact that these "games" sell so well. If they didn't and only games of legitimate merit graced the "Top Downloads" list, then of course people wouldn't continue to churn them out. I wouldn't have tried my hand at it and JFizzle wouldn't have made this massage game (or Avatar Showdown). I wish we lived in this perfect world, but we don't- and until consumers stop buying this crap, people aren't going to stop making it. With the prices so low it's pretty obvious that these sales are made as impulse buys. The only fix I see is highlighting the alternatives that your 80 MSP can get you. There are tons of things I think Microsoft could be doing. IE: making the top rated games the default tab when you enter the Indie Games marketplace or some sort of separate game browser like you guys are suggesting. Will they do anything? I hope so, but honestly I doubt it.


Anyway, I know most of you find the release of games like mine and JFizzle's deplorable and I don't blame you. I also realize that trying to put my words down doesn't excuse my actions. I just want to try to show that while it's easy to point fingers at the developers who release this shovelware, they're not the only ones to blame. And also maybe that there is a difference between those who make this crap their livelihood and those who try to keep that pet project dream alive.

-----------------------------

On a more positive note, today I peer-reviewed a game that really epitomized the potential of the indie games service:


Biohack
. It's basically a Biochemical simulation made into a game. There's even a little science lesson in game that connects all the science to its representative gameplay mechanics. Some of its art maybe isn't quite as polished as you might like, but it's a really cool and unique little game. A game like this couldn't exist on any other platform (besides PC of course), and despite all the problems that the indie games marketplace has, I think it's really great that there is such an easy accesible system in place for developers of crazy games like this one to bring their product to the world while earning a little well deserved compensation. It's a shame that it will simply pass through the new releases and vanish into oblivion while 'Try not to Fart' remains as a top downloaded game.

Anyway, it just passed through peer review so if it's not already on the marketplace it will be shortly.
 

karobit

Member
Mar 20, 2008
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Noogy said:
But that's now how new releases work. Devs can't control how long their game is up there, or even when it goes up. It's not a 'greatest of' list. And it's been proven time and time again that the new releases list is key to getting a game started. Often times I see a great game I've been following for months finally hit the list, then four crappy cash-ins jump ahead of it on the same day. Being bumped off has absolutely nothing to do with marketing or quality.

Couldn't this then be ameliorated by instituting a cap on the number of new releases per day? If 20 XBLI Games are released a week on average, then MS could cap the system to 3 new releases per day -- any more that pass peer review are put on the queue for the following day.
 

xbhaskarx

Member
Aug 13, 2007
32,784
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oi39.tinypic.com
Seph13 said:
As an Xbox Indie Games developer in a slightly similar situation (Exhibit A , Exhibit B) to JFizzle

Wow, no offense but that is pretty fucking awful.
I think the worst part may be that pretty much everything is square shaped. You couldn't change it up a bit? Does it take too long to program other shapes?

Why not go into business sending spam emails? I'm sure there's more money in it.
 

nli10

Member
Nov 16, 2005
3,244
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0
xbhaskarx said:
Wow, no offense but that is pretty fucking awful.
I think the worst part may be that pretty much everything is square shaped. You couldn't change it up a bit? Does it take too long to program other shapes?

Why not go into business sending spam emails? I'm sure there's more money in it.

The problem is that game looks like a laugh. And when I have over 4,000 points sitting on my account 80 for something that makes me laugh is a good deal. The gravity game and arrows thing alone would be worth it if they play well.


The thing is I'll happily play a game, the trial ends - I pay 80 points and then I loose my final life a few minutes later and NEVER go back to the game again. For me it's like an arcade - I stick a pound in a machine at the seaside for far less entertainment than some of these games. If someone made an excellent game that was 5 mins long I'd still pay for it. The time limit really artificially extends some games play times.


I agree that the rating system could be better and the sorting focus on this, but those that make basic fun games are the people that are keeping the traffic flowing to the stores.


I would like to note that I have not bought a massage, avatar or 'gadget' game (flashlights, clocks) and probably never will. I do own that one Zombiez game and have played it twice.




Edit: and as ALL games pass Peer Review isn't that some kind of quality control?
 

coamithra

Member
Dec 14, 2008
231
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0
coamithra.lamaars.nl
JFizzle said:
CoamIthra said:
Bad apps have shunned all but the most juvenile of gamers away from the system thereby, ipso facto, becoming the top selling apps.
So what can be done about this? Doesn't this just lead back to my whole "wading" argument? And the realities of an open platform?
I'll quote a passage from Wikipedia's article on prisoner's dilemma:
Wikipedia said:
Morality
While it is sometimes thought that morality must involve the constraint of self-interest, David Gauthier famously argues that co-operating in the prisoners dilemma on moral principles is consistent with self-interest and the axioms of game theory.[10] In his opinion, it is most prudent to give up straigh tforward maximizing and instead adopt a disposition of constrained maximization, according to which one resolves to cooperate in the belief that the opponent will respond with the same choice, while in the classical PD it is explicitly stipulated that the response of the opponent does not depend on the player's choice. This form of contractarianism claims that good moral thinking is just an elevated and subtly strategic version of basic means-end reasoning.
Douglas Hofstadter expresses a strong personal belief that the mathematical symmetry is reinforced by a moral symmetry, along the lines of the Kantian categorical imperative: defecting in the hope that the other player cooperates is morally indefensible. If players treat each other as they would treat themselves, then they will cooperate.
 

Noogy

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Jan 5, 2009
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noogy.com
nli10 said:
Edit: and as ALL games pass Peer Review isn't that some kind of quality control?
Kind of, but reviewers can only fail a game if there are technical issues with it (or it is clearly offensive as stated in the rules.. ie racist, sexist, etc). No reviewer is allowed to fail a game simply because they don't like it.
 
Seph13 said:
The point I've been trying to get across through all this nonsense is: the current state of the Xbox Indie Games service makes it difficult to resist releasing these quick little cashcows.

You should try harder.

I am not sure why it's so hard to see the damage you're causing. Imagine if all developers stooped to this same level (the direction we're headed, which is why it's scary when people like JForce basically flaunt it). The entire channel filled with clones, massage aps, quick-turn, careless projects, farting, etc.

Even if you believe the argument that you're "feeding the pigeons" sort of speak and even if these games/apps continue to turn a couple grand (which would not be the case in a totally saturated market obviously) - what have we left ourselves with?

Nothing. Nothing to be proud of. Nothing in the spirit of indie game design. Nothing original. No games that move us forward or push boundries. That's the bucket you're in - the "we don't give a shit and we make shit games" bucket.

Your motives and morals are in the wrong place. I understand that it's a "business decision," but it's clearly a selfish and lazy one - something you deserve no respect or forgiveness for.
 

nli10

Member
Nov 16, 2005
3,244
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0
Noogy said:
Kind of, but reviewers can only fail a game if there are technical issues with it (or it is clearly offensive as stated in the rules.. ie racist, sexist, etc). No reviewer is allowed to fail a game simply because they don't like it.

Ah - a flaw to the plan. Its not a question of do I like this? - it's more a question of didn't I already play this?


SmallCaveGames said:
Imagine if all developers stooped to this same level (the direction we're headed, which is why it's scary when people like JForce basically flaunt it). The entire channel filled with clones, massage aps, quick-turn, careless projects, farting, etc.


As you say yourself - saturation point.

The few Mini games that made a massive splash on the Wii (Beach sports, carnival games) attracted a lot of vultures. Those vultures probably did Ok at first but as the market became saturated they failed to make back their money.

XBLIG has a cheaper entry cost, but is less of a free market as there are restrictions on game types (otherwise Naked Girl HD for 80 points would be number 1-100).

The UK 8-bit scene was a saturated market full of £1.99 games with cool covers that were not worth your money. 80 points is probably about a sixth of that in terms of actual worth - it's half a cup of coffee at work to me.



The problem is that the pseudo-free market currently encourages the kind of non serious games that the discussion is about.

I'm not sure on the solution, but it's one of valuing quality in the market over the size of the market and sounds scarily like the Casual Vs Core debates in the real market.

Maybe a better rating system would help us find the gems? Indipendint Charles (RIP) was a good help too, but more is needed. It's more exciting in potential than Game Room, but has had much less effort recently to make sure its working as intended.
 

JFizzle

Neo Member
Jan 1, 2009
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640
Denton, Tx
jforcegames.com
Noogy said:
But that's now how new releases work. Devs can't control how long their game is up there, or even when it goes up. It's not a 'greatest of' list. And it's been proven time and time again that the new releases list is key to getting a game started. Often times I see a great game I've been following for months finally hit the list, then four crappy cash-ins jump ahead of it on the same day. Being bumped off has absolutely nothing to do with marketing or quality.
Ok, I definitely agree that shorter time on new releases means less sales, but it doesn't make a difference between getting on top downloads/top rated. As long as you get a few days on NR, you have your chance, and if it ever gets to the point where it's so crowded that you can't even get a few days, then the dev better have some good marketing to make up for it. Can you show us a game you have in mind that got bumped off quickly, that you think deserved to be a top seller? As proof of your claim? Did that game have a hook? An attention grabber? Originality? Did it get good press?

My point: everybody is in control of their own destiny. I have no sympathy for games that get bumped off quickly. They all could have done something to prevent their situation.

But regardless, all this certainly isn't a reason for us to turn down potentially tens of thousands of dollars, right? And isn't this what this is all about?


And if you have confidence in it, there are more traditional ways of getting funding (banks, publishers, etc).
Well we really don't have a track record, plus the subject matter of our game would probably scare publishers away. And of course we'd have to pay interest or profit share. But I think Introversion gives the best answer to why we wouldn't want a publisher.


SmallCaveGames said:
I am not sure why it's so hard to see the damage you're causing. Imagine if all developers stooped to this same level (the direction we're headed, which is why it's scary when people like JForce basically flaunt it). The entire channel filled with clones, massage aps, quick-turn, careless projects, farting, etc.

Even if you believe the argument that you're "feeding the pigeons" sort of speak and even if these games/apps continue to turn a couple grand (which would not be the case in a totally saturated market obviously) - what have we left ourselves with?
You already answered your own hypothetical, there's no way all developers would ever stoop to this level because the market would be to saturated for it to be profitable. If supply increases, demand decreases. This is of course ignoring the fact that many devs will never go this route just out of principle, like yourself. So we are absolutely not heading in this direction. The marketplace will always be balanced like it is now, and there will always be the very prominent top rated section so people can easily find the best games.

So to sum it up, don't worry about it. If you wanna lose respect for us because you think what we're doing is immoral, that's fine. I understand. But once y'all see all the awesome games we'll be making in the future we'll earn your respect back and this whole massage app ordeal will just be a thing of the past; forgotten...right guys?

Guys??
 

FirstInHell

Banned
Apr 15, 2005
1,552
0
0
omg
This thread has been a very interesting read and it confirms my thoughts about the service. I used to check it out every week and stopped bothering because of the amount of shit being released.

Someone asked for us to define "wading through the shit". I can describe it;

1. Browsing the Indie Games Channel
2. Downloading the trial version
3. Waiting for the superbly unresponsive dashboard to tell me my game is queued to download.
4. After a few downloads are complete, navigating to the "My Games" section and waiting 5 minutes for the dashboard to refresh the list of trial games I just downloaded.
5. Repeat step 4 for each trial you want to play

This does not sound like a big deal, but when the shit to quality ratio is 100 to 1, it is just not worth the frustration.

The worse part of this is that the cesspool of crummy games is killing the service and eventually it will go away. I don't know if we should be angry at the developers who make the games or the users who pay money for this nonsense.
 

FirstInHell

Banned
Apr 15, 2005
1,552
0
0
omg
JFizzle said:
As proof of your claim? Did that game have a hook? An attention grabber? Originality? Did it get good press?

Translation: As proof of your claim? Did that game have references to farting, girls or zombies? An juvenile title? Avatar support?
 
Good list FirstInHell - putting it that way does in fact make it sound like wading through shit.

To say we're not heading in THAT direction JForce is crazy coming from someone who is as actively interbrowsing like you are. You yourself have gone that direction, and I could names at least 10 other devs who have ditched or moved away from original game concepts to release something quicker/easier and with farts or Avatars. (not all are bad, granted - just gimmicky)

At any given time now 50%+ of the games on the top download list are of that variety. In fact, I am tempted to gamble that your Massage app will an epic flop just based on the recent saturation. (please, oh please)

So yes what bothers me is your motives. You use a generic supply/demand argument to justify purposely releasing a terrible "cash in" massage app.

Hey you know what else there is really high demand for? GOOD GAMES. Why not use your same insights to find another area of demand (RPGs, a variation on DeepDig, ping pong, whatever) - oh right because those games require effort, creativity, motivation, originality, skill, and yield products that are memorable, critically successful, and FUN.

Which in a nutshell, is what indie game development is all about.

I am stepping off the soapbox now - wish you the worst of luck. ;)
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
17,232
4
0
FirstInHell said:
This thread has been a very interesting read and it confirms my thoughts about the service. I used to check it out every week and stopped bothering because of the amount of shit being released.

Someone asked for us to define "wading through the shit". I can describe it;

1. Browsing the Indie Games Channel
2. Downloading the trial version
3. Waiting for the superbly unresponsive dashboard to tell me my game is queued to download.
4. After a few downloads are complete, navigating to the "My Games" section and waiting 5 minutes for the dashboard to refresh the list of trial games I just downloaded.
5. Repeat step 4 for each trial you want to play

This does not sound like a big deal, but when the shit to quality ratio is 100 to 1, it is just not worth the frustration.

The worse part of this is that the cesspool of crummy games is killing the service and eventually it will go away. I don't know if we should be angry at the developers who make the games or the users who pay money for this nonsense.

Queue up on marketplace.xbox.com, ta-da!
 

Noogy

Member
Jan 5, 2009
3,095
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0
noogy.com
FirstInHell said:
Someone asked for us to define "wading through the shit". I can describe it;

1. Browsing the Indie Games Channel
2. Downloading the trial version
3. Waiting for the superbly unresponsive dashboard to tell me my game is queued to download.
4. After a few downloads are complete, navigating to the "My Games" section and waiting 5 minutes for the dashboard to refresh the list of trial games I just downloaded.
5. Repeat step 4 for each trial you want to play

I have to admit that this is a big issue for me on all console DL services. I've bought a ton of games for my iPod because starting up a game is nearly instaneous, whereas it's pretty painful on the consoles. I think that's why I don't mind short experiences on that platform, but expect more on a console.

Imagine how great it'd be if you browsed the library on whatever console, saw an interesting title, clicked 'demo', and were instantly in. Kind of like Flash pc games. That would be wonderful.
 

JFizzle

Neo Member
Jan 1, 2009
36
0
640
Denton, Tx
jforcegames.com
FirstInHell said:
Someone asked for us to define "wading through the shit". I can describe it;

1. Browsing the Indie Games Channel
2. Downloading the trial version
3. Waiting for the superbly unresponsive dashboard to tell me my game is queued to download.
4. After a few downloads are complete, navigating to the "My Games" section and waiting 5 minutes for the dashboard to refresh the list of trial games I just downloaded.
5. Repeat step 4 for each trial you want to play
But can't you tell if it's crappy by the screenshots and box art and title and rating? Especially if it's a massage app, that shouldn't waste any of your time, you should be skipping right over it. Same goes for the fart apps, talking to girls apps, etc, right? These are the types of games we're talking about here.

And you should delete some of your memory or get a new hard drive or something if the dashboard is taking that long.
 

SapientWolf

Trucker Sexologist
Jul 4, 2004
35,733
0
0
FirstInHell said:
This thread has been a very interesting read and it confirms my thoughts about the service. I used to check it out every week and stopped bothering because of the amount of shit being released.

Someone asked for us to define "wading through the shit". I can describe it;

1. Browsing the Indie Games Channel
2. Downloading the trial version
3. Waiting for the superbly unresponsive dashboard to tell me my game is queued to download.
4. After a few downloads are complete, navigating to the "My Games" section and waiting 5 minutes for the dashboard to refresh the list of trial games I just downloaded.
5. Repeat step 4 for each trial you want to play

This does not sound like a big deal, but when the shit to quality ratio is 100 to 1, it is just not worth the frustration.

The worse part of this is that the cesspool of crummy games is killing the service and eventually it will go away. I don't know if we should be angry at the developers who make the games or the users who pay money for this nonsense.
I typically just queue up games on the XBox website using recommendations from this thread and burn through the demos in one sitting. I average at least one purchase a sitting.
 

HadesGigas

Member
Apr 13, 2005
8,097
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0
JFizzle said:
And you should delete some of your memory or get a new hard drive or something if the dashboard is taking that long.

"Five minutes" on his part is probably a bit of an exaggeration, but it's definitely not uncommon for it to take over a minute. The Xbox's dashboard/hard drive don't seem to be able to handle you having a lot of files. Which is troublesome if you are big into XBLA or Indie Games. And a lot of Indie Games trials leave behind save files after you delete the game, pain in the ass to go through and delete all of those every once in a while.
 

toythatkills

Member
Dec 5, 2008
14,337
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Thames Ditton, UK
Between them, I've got over 200 XBLA and XBLI Games, and at this point, when I want to change games it's quicker to shut down, power on, and sign in than to just return to the dashboard.

It's insane.
 

Dr Zhivago

Member
Jun 7, 2004
3,889
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Unclear
Yep, the time it takes to refresh the file lists is ludicrous. How can it be so much slower than Windows when it's a much simpler OS?

JFizzle said:
But once y'all see all the awesome games we'll be making in the future we'll earn your respect back and this whole massage app ordeal will just be a thing of the past; forgotten...right guys?

I'd have been more likely to forgive you before you started this slightly bizarre self-justification campaign.
 
Jan 7, 2007
675
0
0
35
Glasgow, Scotland
toythatkills said:
Between them, I've got over 200 XBLA and XBLI Games, and at this point, when I want to change games it's quicker to shut down, power on, and sign in than to just return to the dashboard.

It's insane.

Yeah, I'm in the same boat. It really is completely fucking unacceptable to have to wait a couple of minutes to load up your games list. Why does it load straight away the first time you boot up and then take ages when you go back into it after playing something?
 

Seph13

Neo Member
Jul 9, 2009
28
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0
HadesGigas said:
"Five minutes" on his part is probably a bit of an exaggeration, but it's definitely not uncommon for it to take over a minute. The Xbox's dashboard/hard drive don't seem to be able to handle you having a lot of files. Which is troublesome if you are big into XBLA or Indie Games. And a lot of Indie Games trials leave behind save files after you delete the game, pain in the ass to go through and delete all of those every once in a while.

I agree that the dashboard implementation of this is awful. At times it takes at least a couple of minutes to load the list. This seems like something that could be easily fixed in a firmware update. It shouldn't take that long to just load a list of games.

This is especially frustrating when I try to peer-review games. Usually you want to launch the game several times so that you can try all the possible paths/settings/etc, and every time the wait at the dashboard slows things down to an agonizing pace.
 

toythatkills

Member
Dec 5, 2008
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Thames Ditton, UK
Seph13 said:
I agree that the dashboard implementation of this is awful. At times it takes at least a couple of minutes to load the list. This seems like something that could be easily fixed in a firmware update. It shouldn't take that long to just load a list of games.
It's already been fixed once, years ago. When the old blades style dash was launched, Arcade games would populate one at a time and you'd have to sit there watching a counter go up until all your games were loaded into the list. It took about 30 seconds to load 20 games, then it became instant (at start up).
 

HadesGigas

Member
Apr 13, 2005
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charlequin said:
marketplace.xbox.com, in my experience, somehow manages to be worse than downloading directly on the system.

Xbox.com is constantly making me enter my password. Especially in Opera where it says I enter the password wrong the first time, no matter what, then accepts it the second time.

And it's pop-in windows for buying are slow loading and sometimes randomly decide to become a full page.
 
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