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Unread 05-11-2011, 12:50 AM   #11
Krylo
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I like that they recognized it as art, but I'm with Smarty on the money. The size of the grants they're giving mean literally nothing toward financing game production. It's not enough to make a difference to making games that aren't commercially viable, so it's mostly just a waste.

Games need their own group like the NEA who give out fewer, but higher value, grants to people making artistic games.
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Unread 05-11-2011, 01:22 AM   #12
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Games need their own group like the NEA who give out fewer, but higher value, grants to people making artistic games.
why exactly? Nearest I can tell that 200,000 cap applies to all art, including movies that in the mainstream cost even more millions then video games. 200k is still more then alot of big indie games had to work with and many of them make a good artistic statement.
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Unread 05-11-2011, 01:27 AM   #13
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200k is definitely enough for a small indie studio to come up with something, if those are the amounts that we're talking about. As I said before, the average indie game costs something around $50k to make, I believe.
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Unread 05-11-2011, 01:28 AM   #14
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200k is plenty for an indie movie. You only need, what? Twenty, maybe thirty people? That's... 7-10k each. You can shoot the movie over a couple of months. That factors out to what... 30k salary for every one on the movie... minus maybe 10-20k for materials and shit, and you're still working out to everyone taking a few months off paid and paying for everything in the movie.

200k is MAYBE plenty for an indie game. But it's not really going to help them that much. You've got more people working on it, and you're talking one year minimum development time, plus various materials for everything from the VA and sound shit (renting a studio, possibly hiring VA, etc) to the art supplies for story boards and planning.

Indie games worked with less because they were done in people's spare time while they were doing other jobs, or by people who were supported by other titles in their indie line up.

The point of NEA is to toss 200k to a movie crew so that they can focus on their artsy movie shit for the full 6 months or whatever it takes to make it. Not to toss 200k to some people so that they can still only do it in their down time while working two jobs, and not really hurry along production at all.

Further, that's the maximum amount they drop. What's 10k going to do for an indie game?

Edit: It might be helpful over all, but it's not going to have the same impact on less time intensive arts. Plus you have to understand that making a game often involves making movies and what not within that game. It's just a much larger enterprise than any other media right now to create, because it incorporates every other media, much as movies incorporate paintings and sculptures and music, video games incorporate paintings (level design, story board, character design, etc), sculptures (again with the design shit), music, and full on movies, on top of the actual video game itself.
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Unread 05-11-2011, 01:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krylo View Post
Further, that's the maximum amount they drop. What's 10k going to do for an indie game?
Still a lot. 1/5th of the total cost for free is quite a bit. And they can be made for less than $50k, that's just the accepted average.

No offense, but it really seems like you don't know what you're talking about in terms of how such a thing works, and more just don't want the money going to indie game developers, which is absolutely fine. But, if that's the case, you ought to just say so, rather than making up reasons why it won't help.


Edit: For example, if you have a crew of 30+ people working on your indie game, that is a very very large indie game. Retro Studios was only like 50 people, when it made the first Metroid Prime game. Not a -great- example, since it's not the rule, but it gives you an idea what can be accomplished with few people.

Double edit: A bit of info from Wikipedia on indie games.

Quote:
Independent video game development is the process of creating indie video games without the financial support of a video game publisher. While large firms can create independent games, they are usually designed by an individual or a small team of as many as ten people, depending on the complexity of the project. These games may take years to be built from the ground up or can be completed in a matter of days or even hours depending on complexity, participants, and design goal.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indepen...me_development
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Last edited by rpgdemon; 05-11-2011 at 01:37 AM.
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Unread 05-11-2011, 01:40 AM   #16
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Where do you get your costs? I've never heard of a game, indie or not, being developed by two people in under a year. That would leave them making 25k salaries if they just stopped and focused on their art and doesn't factor in the costs of everything else associated with it.

I mean, the contemporary AVERAGE game production cost is 20million. For a triple a title you're looking at 40 million easy. Some go over fifty million.

What are we factoring into the cost of this indie game production? Paying the team? Apparently not? Are we factoring in one time costs for buying production kits? Engines? Are we factoring in time costs?

I mean, I find it very hard to believe that 50k is the accepted norm for any game, indie or otherwise. Unless it's like... something made with game creator or some such with open source graphics.

Edit@YourEdit: Those are far far far from the rule, however. Having someone finish in a few days working alone, and those aren't the ones that really... do or get anything. I guess they could finance games like "I shot Andy Warhol" but those have such low overheads that it's pretty much pointless to do so. One guy can do it alone after work and it's not like doing a painting or shooting a movie, where you're going to 'lose your energy' part way through typing the sixteenth line of code or whatever.

This is the more common indie game scenario:
Quote:
Jonathan Blow came up with the concept of Braid in December 2004 while on a trip to Thailand, and started development work on it in April the following year.[30] By December 2005, a version of the game was completed that had the same number of worlds and puzzles as the final version, but lacked the final artwork; this version won the Independent Games Festival game design award at the 2006 Game Developer's Conference.[30] While working on the art direction, Blow tightened the presentation and mechanics of the puzzles to improve their playability.[30] During the game's three years of development, Blow put about US$200,000 of his own money into its development, most going towards hiring of David Hellman for artwork and for living expenses.[31][32]
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Unread 05-11-2011, 01:53 AM   #17
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Publishing costs for an indie game are getting easier and easier to handle. For example, licensing for an indie game on the 360 is $99 for a license to publish 12 games, for one year, with a 30% cut taken from it. For the PC, there is literally no licensing cost, nor really any start up cost, as you've got plenty of compilers available for free. The only real licensing costs would be those of Steam, perhaps, and I'm not entirely sure what that entails.

And devoting full time to it, a team of two can easily come out with an indie game in a half year to a year. One of the reasons that indie game development might take so long is because they -can't- work full time on it, because they need money and are working a job to pay for the development. The only other option is try to hold out on what money you have, and hope that you don't run out and need a job before you publish.

A big difference between an indie game and a AAA multimillion dollar game is the scale, advertising, marketability, et cetera. If you're getting funded by a publisher, they want to know that they'll be making their money back on you. Generally how it works is you're paid at certain points throughout development, and then the publisher will get money from the sales, until they hit the threshold of, "Hey, we've made money, I guess you guys can have some royalties now". What that means is that the publisher has a vested interest in making sure that your game is marketable to the right demographics.

In an indie game, you don't have the publisher to please anymore, but generally will have to scale it down to something smaller and cheaper. Look at games like Bit.Trip.Beat. It's an awesome game, but also really really short. It's three levels long, and each level is what, ten minutes tops, if you play it through perfectly? Maybe less than that. I mean, you'll get way more than 30 minutes of entertainment out of it, because if you can beat it first try then you're absolutely amazing, but it's still a small scale thing. They didn't require an engine that someone else designed, or a ton of art resources or anything, they made do with the small budget, and made something awesome with it.


I dunno where I've gone/am going with this, it's 3 AM and I'm rambling. If I had something that I was trying to get at, I forget it, but I'd totally restate it here if I remembered.


Edit at your edit:
Quote:
most going towards hiring of David Hellman for artwork and for living expenses.[31][32]
Bolded what I think is the important bit there. The costs incurred weren't development related, but instead the fact that it took so long to get developed. I'm not sure of the situation in developing Braid, but I'm going to assume that over those three years, he was working a second or third job to cover expenses. Because he couldn't devote full time to the game, it lengthened the development time, and more costs were incurred. It's a problem that builds upon itself, because time is literally also money, in development. If, for example, you have no sound guy, and a budget of $50,000. You can either choose to take a portion of that budget and buy a sound guy, or you can take a few weeks or months learning how to do the sound yourself, and push development back further, which will incur increased costs of living expenses. It's a tradeoff, but without the $50,000 budget, you have no choice but to just incur more costs by pushing back development, and have to pick up a job to pay for that, which pushes things back further.


Double edit: I'd like to continue this conversation later, if you want, but I really ought to sleep. Hopefully someone else can jump in and correct me if I've made any mistakes, or continue my point if I'm actually somehow right. :P
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Last edited by rpgdemon; 05-11-2011 at 02:01 AM.
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Unread 05-11-2011, 01:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krylo View Post
Where do you get your costs? I've never heard of a game, indie or not, being developed by two people in under a year.
most indie games, nearly all smartphone games, and all games made before 1990.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krylo View Post
I mean, the contemporary AVERAGE game production cost is 20million. For a triple a title you're looking at 40 million easy. Some go over fifty million.
yes, this is true for mainstream games, following quote is true about movies
Quote:
According to a 2006 report by industry analyst Alfonso Marone, "The average budget for a Hollywood movie is currently around $60 m, rising to $100 m when the cost of marketing for domestic launch (USA only) is factored into the equation
Braid is not average, Braid is by indie standards insanely expensive.

World of Goo cost 10k, for example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krylo View Post
What are we factoring into the cost of this indie game production? Paying the team? Apparently not? Are we factoring in one time costs for buying production kits? Engines? Are we factoring in time costs?

I mean, I find it very hard to believe that 50k is the accepted norm for any game, indie or otherwise. Unless it's like... something made with game creator or some such with open source graphics.
if its non-profit (which all games getting this grant must be) then there are engines available for free. Simple graphics are not hard to make, lots of people on this forum do it as a hobby. and if you are ok with 2D, you can just port in photoshop sprites. Sound effects, again lots free for things like this, there are people that do it for free just to get their name out there, and even paid its only a few thousand for multiple songs, all sound effects, and cost to add in voice acting.

If you are lucky voice acting is a non-issue and people working on it can do it. Even if not there are alot of amateurs that would be happy to help, flash movie community lives off them. Or you can just not have them, as someone that grew up in the 8/16 bit era you should know this first hand
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Unread 05-11-2011, 04:28 PM   #19
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As a point of reference, the game I've talked with some people about releasing sometime at the end of the summer probably has been in development for only about 3/4s of a year. We've just been putting spare time towards it whenever possible.
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Unread 05-11-2011, 04:46 PM   #20
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I'm with Smarty on this. The recognition is nice, but the money should go to less marketable arts. After all, who is more likely to end up
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having to sell their blood for rent money.
A sculpter or an indie game creator?
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