General philosophy thread

Crims

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Some thoughts I've had recently, since there's a dedicated political forum.

Some would believe that because the (development) software to make things is freely available media is now egalitarian. Is it true? Is there a bridge between when something nowadays is made and what players decide?
 

Arantor

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It's honestly not true. You'd think it should be, but it interestingly isn't.

Unity in particular acquired itself a pretty awkward reputation a few years ago, which it was slowly shaking off because it had some passionate defenders (but its recent self-immolation is, well, another story entirely)

OK, so 2015 or so, people had started figuring out how to game the system that was Steam Greenlight. It became fairly trivial for people to take Unity, take a bunch of free/cheap assets, mash them together into something that technically could be called a game, and launch it into the store for people to buy. Since Unity's free version also mandates the Unity logo being shown, Unity became associated quite quickly with all the low-tier trash cluttering up the bottom of Steam. When Greenlight went away and Steam Direct came along this problem only got worse.

The result of which is that the good games written in Unity go under the radar because they don't have the Unity splash page, and the bad ones all have it because doing it on a non-existent budget, meaning that Unity got associated with all the bad games.

Now, there are certainly AAA tier titles written in Unity - Hearthstone, for example - and people would point this out over time, and Unity has slowly improved its reputation because of shoutouts from prominent streamers and vloggers on the subject. Only a couple of weeks ago I saw Game Maker's Toolkit engaging with a streamer who was bashing a game claiming it was made in Unity and that being made in Unity was the reason it had wonky physics or something. Uh... no.

Anyway.

We have come a long way since the 1980s where you got a programming language of sorts built into the machine and your choice was to use that or progress to something fancier...

I think I would agree that there are more choices available than there's ever been, meaning you can work on something that fits your workflow and style and approach. You can almost start with 'which tool is best for this job' rather than figuring out how to fit your game to the tools you know.

I also think there's always been people who buy into development tools and choose to release games/tools for free - Visual Studio never used to be free, but people would buy it to release free things, just for the joy of creation.

Free tools give more people a choice. They don't necessarily give people a better choice. See Unity; a company that gives its tools away has to make their money somewhere. Ideologically I much prefer Godot in that department, because their development is funded by crowdfunding through Patreon, though they're a small team and the scope of what is achievable is far smaller than Unity as a result.

I think hybrid pricing (like Unity) gives people a chance to try it out, but then you end up with the shovelware situation being vastly accelerated as Steam demonstrated; opening the door for everyone to have a go results in more people flooding the bottom end of the market, meaning that you're screwing up the market by way of finding it harder to find and reward the good creators and you have to filter out all the bad ones.

See, I am somewhat more cynical about pay-to-play environments. Morally, I am all for there being community/free options for things, and I believe it is important these exist. However, the community/free options very quickly acquire a reputation for being inferior and while it is absolutely possible to compete, it is more work, and not enough of the free tier puts in the work which results in everyone getting tarred with that same brush (see above).

Pay-to-play produces different results; there is now a practical application of sunk cost fallacy in play. If you've just spent £££ on a tool, chances are you're going to invest more of your time and energy into making that work for you, versus if you just downloaded a free one. (Incidentally this is another reason why XF/IPS forums tend to be more successful than ones on phpBB/SMF/MyBB. This should not be conflated with the fact that there are vastly more of the latter and that the failure rate seems higher simply because there are more of them.)

It's tough because on the one hand I want to believe in the egalitarian situation - I've spent years contributing to open source software with that belief held high - but on the other I want people to have the best tools and, sadly, the best tools aren't usually the free-est ones.
 

Crims

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I agree (had to write this twice and getting back into it. Luckily it wasn't that thought out either at the time).

When it comes to asset flipping I'm half in agreement with you. The view I take is that AA developers aren't in a position to do both high quality work and gameplay. Unity has a pro version and I think that if you download the Unity mod tools it can be removed manually (or they'd pirate the version).
I'm one of those such developers, but only in the sense that I would actually leverage the asset store to build a stable foundation for design ideas.

Even as someone reluctantly using Unity as his main engine there's a large amount of 'if it looks like Unity it probably isn't a good game' that still holds true and is still not enough of a detriment to prevent the 2015 approach tbh.


Still in complete agreement as a cynic of the game environment, and would ascribe more to the 'use a C++ engine that's not commonly used' for the majority of high quality game development (Godot being an okay backup choice). The issue of what is available for the average layman is a huge dividing factor here with there being an escalatory pricing system. Doesn't account for time either.

As a side, that's pretty awesome and sorry to get you in your wheelhouse. I can't begin to describe the amount of hours I've saved using github for Unity assets (especially because I work from a unnetworked PC, which means I have a specific Unity base version and that is a headache alone).

But generally I'm referring to the games themselves. The software has created an illusion of many great choices, but I actually do buy into the belief that Unity isn't a particularly worthwhile engine outside of physics games (which don't run well in any case) and Unreal is only great for high quality AAA titles (so the majority of non indie and even work probably wouldn't suit such)... so non conventional approaches are best suited for development these days. The games themselves reflect that, mostly plodding but given slightly too high scores for mediocre results - and that when looked at as a process says egalitarianism isn't the same in principle as in practice especially when it emphasises capitalism and creates this approach in several creative fields (not just games)
 

Arantor

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I have a lot of questions about what 'AA developers' really are - because if we take the view that AAA developers are the huge powerhouses with full teams that can do all the things (remember, a typical Assassin's Creed game has upwards of 800 people working on it, or a AAA MMO game could easily have 100-300 people working on it), we're then left with tiers exist for the smaller studios.

The reality is that there are everything from the solo devs through to what we could justifiably call AA studios with 100 people or less, and likely under a multi-million dollar budget. We could probably call someone like Ninja Theory and their title Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice as the point of 'indie AAA', or just above what we could call 'the top of AA games'.

Now, Unity absolutely provides facilities for people in all tiers and all the strata from that lone indie dev upwards. And let's be clear: whatever else I may think about Unity, the fact that it *is* suitable for everyone from the lone indie upwards is absolutely a good thing.

What I can also tell you is that Unity represents a cheap and easy route for bigger publishers to push out mobile games relatively cheaply; you want to ship an Apple + Android + Amazon/Android game for reasonably wide distribution without writing it multiple times? Unity is perfectly suited to that, plus Unity gets you cheaper developers because there's plenty of them out there. Win all round in that regard.

Plus if you're a smaller studio, Unity is a reasonable approach for making the jump from desktop to indie-level console; it's how smaller studios can get things onto the PS Store and to the Switch without having to contract a porting dev so hard. Yes, Godot is making waves there, but Unity is still the fastest, easiest and cheapest route for cross-platforming *right now*.

I suppose I should also clarify I see a huge difference between licensing assets and asset flipping, as we should call it. There's any number of games throughout history that have licensed assets, whether it's art, whether it's sounds or music. 1993's DOOM, yes, that DOOM, licensed some of the sound effects from an effects library. It's a reaosnable practical approach: build what is your IP, license what isn't your wheelhouse.

I have zero problem with Kevin McLeod's music being out there. I have zero problem with ZapSplat being used for effects, for music, whatever. I have zero problem with KenneyNL's artistic asset packs being out there for everyone to use, just to name three examples.

I would even go as far as suggesting that all of these, even up to and including game starter kits for Unity *are a good thing*. Anything that makes it easier for people to get in and have a go and experiment and try new things *is a good thing*.

Where I draw the line at is very much a philosophical one, and I suppose my artistic snobbery is showing: I resent the amount of effluent that is produced by the asset flippers, whether it's the 'I don't have any care for artistic cohesion, I'm just going to shove everything in and don't care' crowd, or the folks who buy a starter kit and try to (and/succeed) get it on Steam as a paid product. I resent that the amount of effluent due to Steam's lack of quality control means those who put the time and effort in get drowned out.

I suppose in that respect I do want to believe in the egalitarian approach - that everyone deserves the equal opportunity, but what happens in practice are the quick buck folks churn out so much stuff, that the people who put in the effort and deserve the rewards have to fight harder to be seen.

I also think a lot of the 'if it looks like a Unity game it's going to be shit' is a huge disservice to everyone; not everyone can afford a great artist or to retool the default shaders and great games get overlooked because of it.

As far as development is concerned in general, I'm a journeyman developer, doing my thing in all sorts of weird and wonderful environments (though I'm mostly a web dev in practice). I'm completely a subscriber to the view that 'use the tool that works'. There are tools where Unity is right at home - and the indie dev is absolutely one of those places. But for the sake of example, if you're making an adventure game (especially any of the classical style, whether that's text adventure or point and click), you *can* use Unity, but it wouldn't be my recommended first choice.

There are certainly cases where writing your own game engine in C++ *is the correct choice*. Depends what you're doing, and there's certainly cases where you'd have to make your designs and plans fit Unity rather than the other way around. Or you might just not like Unity. That's the joy of all the tool chain options, you have choices and can find tools that suit you rather than the other way around.

I suppose ultimately where I come back to is that I want to believe. I want the tools to be good enough for everyone, I want everyone to have those opportunities, but I know from too much bitter experience that the only way that goes down is for someone to pay to play, one way or another. It doesn't even matter whether that's forum software, or game dev tools.

Consider GIMP vs Photoshop. Yes, you *can* use GIMP. But it's just not in the same league as PS and is never going to be, not with the best will in the world. But if you can do what you need to do with GIMP? Full steam ahead, may it serve you mightily. Ditto Unity, ditto VS Code, or whatever other tools you work with. They're only tools, and they require some learning and investment of the non-financial kind to get good with them.
 

Crims

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If we take away all the conversation about money, and put it to time, development and end results, I don't believe that the opinion is actually that far from the truth.

I disagree on the starter packs thing. They're usually licensed by Unity themselves. Which makes it something that cannot be sold through a shop and only used for tutorial purposes.

From the opposite angle, I'm a designer and very serious about working full time on games and would like to make a great quality, high asset title. I'm looking for consistent work, which means something in AA, and AAA development is not great for a career.

To cut through the dev speak a lot of what is being said is ultimately the professional tools are most likely the best choice. For AA developers.. which should really comprise the majority of games being released (some of them being old games anniversary editions). And of course sold. Similarly, that Unity titles that have most caught on are still just physics games like TABS, Human Fall Flat, or Gang Beasts or Goat Simulator or some other terrible (but still noteworthy) game.

If I am to create a game of any kind, which players then put their opinion on, the software does not make a game as much as the market, much as mentioned, seems to really create the feedback loop necessary for "egalitarian" media (development and audience consumption). AAA developer pays for a review, it's less egalitarian.

Similarly, the conversation topic applies to music, movies, games and other formats. Egalitarian media doesn't hold true when the biggest fish are the ones in charge.
Games are the easier choice for example for me though.
 

Crims

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I couldn't really speak at length about Unity at the time but I'll contribute some.
Unity has excellent potential for single man teams but has two main factors which are highly problematic:
1. High barrier of entry
Many titles seem to have a maximum on how much they can start with, and considering that it's been used so much by so many developers it stands to reason that with Github and such there would be even more of the aforementioned lame games. Usually that produces a high quality game as they start to see the titles they're competing with.
2. Low ceiling
Similarly it lacks the growth capability when you have a larger team, and need to save time optimising and manage gameplay (don't have time to elaborate but this is the best I can do)
 

Tiffany

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Just wanted to say, enjoying the conversation. Not exactly in my wheelhouse, well worth the time reading and learning! Thanks y'all!

I can only add that I use Coreldraw for all of my graphic work. It does have some annoying quirks, but once you get past that learning curve it goes well.

Also, in gaming, I think one important aspect is to talk to the real gamer's. My daughter is a serious gamer, believe it or not, one of the few, and she has a lot of opinions as to what designers do to shred the current quality of a game but sell it as an upgrade. She's not really happy right now about Blizzard and what they are doing to Overwatch, effective, October 1. She's also played WOW for over 10 years and has strong opinions has to how they are altering the gaming, making the grind just too much, etc. Yes, I hear this almost every day....lol :ROFLMAO:
 

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Now that Tiffs has commented, I'll stick my oar in and say that it's a bit over my head, but great conversation, people. :)
 

Crims

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Just wanted to say, enjoying the conversation. Not exactly in my wheelhouse, well worth the time reading and learning! Thanks y'all!

I can only add that I use Coreldraw for all of my graphic work. It does have some annoying quirks, but once you get passed that learning curve it goes well.

Also, in gaming, I think one important aspect is to talk to the real gamer's. My daughter is a serious gamer, believe it or not, one of the few, and she has a lot of opinions as to what designers do to shred the current quality of a game but sell it as an upgrade. She's not really happy right now about Blizzard and what they are doing to Overwatch, effective, October 1. She's also played WOW for over 10 years and has strong opinions has to how they are altering the gaming, making the grind just too much, etc. Yes, I hear this almost every day....lol :ROFLMAO:
I'm considering regetting Photoshop for this very reason. The option to not spend ages adjusting to an alternative pays off so much that I'm even thinking of getting a Mac.

WoW is a great title and example of this in action (same as Overwatch for opposite reasons). WoW had great solid progress and return for player dedication - tons of fun quests given right at the start. Recently they took a look at the market and the quality of work at Activision Blizzard is not as high. Overwatch had a similar system where they simply don't put high quality content in the sequel; They think the situation is bad enough for all media and streaming networks that they could just push the sequel and pretend Overwatch 1 never existed. Sounds familiar for music and video services?
The egalitarian angle is just remarking on what publishers get up to and the audience's desires.
 

Tiffany

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I'm considering regetting Photoshop for this very reason. The option to not spend ages adjusting to an alternative pays off so much that I'm even thinking of getting a Mac.

WoW is a great title and example of this in action (same as Overwatch for opposite reasons). WoW had great solid progress and return for player dedication - tons of fun quests given right at the start. Recently they took a look at the market and the quality of work at Activision Blizzard is not as high. Overwatch had a similar system where they simply don't put high quality content in the sequel; They think the situation is bad enough for all media and streaming networks that they could just push the sequel and pretend Overwatch 1 never existed. Sounds familiar for music and video services?
The egalitarian angle is just remarking on what publishers get up to and the audience's desires.

I initially wanted to get photoshop, but it's all subscription, so I chose Coreldraw to avoid the monthly forever subscription fees.

I have Mac and purchased it back in 2015 particularly for graphics because I thought that would be the way to go. I tried various graphic apps and didn't care for any of them. I struggled with the lack of tools to create the graphic art I had in mind. I've since moved back to Microsoft with no regrets. I have a friend that successfully does her graphic work on GIMP. I haven't looked at GIMP in a long time, but it's a free option and apparently she is able to produce the graphics she wants with GIMP. My Mac has been an excellent laptop for everything and the quality of the OS I do like a lot, though for me, just preference for graphics on MS, and really that's what it is. Having the right tools working for you the way you need them too, makes all the difference as you are working on projects.

Yeah, my daughter is pretty peeved at the Overwatch 2 coming out. She doesn't like when "they" change the character's abilities or seriously change everything to where you can't enjoy the game with friends, which is what it's all about. She expects some will leave Wow for what they are doing to the game. I've even suggested to her take a break, but there lies the challenge....investment of time and money for all of rank, gold, loot, mounts, etc. Hard to give that up on principle, though she's pretty solid on principle and she will draw the line at some point on particular changes. Agreed on quality content; they need to remember the players are what keeps them thriving.
 

Arantor

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I couldn't really speak at length about Unity at the time but I'll contribute some
Unity has excellent potential for single man teams but has two main factors which are highly problematic:
1. High barrier of entry
Many titles seem to have a maximum on how much they can start with, and considering that it's been used so much by so many developers it stands to reason that with Github and such there would be even more of the aforementioned lame games. Usually that produces a high quality game as they start to see the titles they're competing with.
2. Low ceiling
Similarly it lacks the growth capability when you have a larger team, and need to save time optimising and manage gameplay (don't have time to elaborate but this is the best I can do)
I'm really not sure I agree with either point here, if I'm honest.

Unity has *a* barrier to entry. Of course it does. It's a tool that requires some investment of effort. I have yet to see a tool that would give you meaningful results that has zero barrier to entry.

It doesn't even matter which arena we look in, there are barriers to entry, even in the tools that provide a lot of handholding, and the more handholding, the more ceiling there is.

You're not making anything other than a JRPG-style game in RPG Maker without a significant effort investment; you're making a conventional JRPG game with *some* investment. But it still requires an investment of learning, though much lower than Unity.

Getting more fancy, AGS, Visionaire, AGI or SCI Studio (god help you), and friends, all let you make a certain style of game (with some getting into other things if you really want) but again with a barrier to entry.

Over in other corners you can start talking about things like Pico8 and its particular relatively low barrier to entry but again low ceiling.

Everything's got a barrier to entry - and I don't believe Unity's is significantly higher than any other tool in its weight class; it's not radically more obtuse to get started in Unity than it is in Unreal, or Godot for 3D stuff. For 2D I might argue that GameMaker Studio is slightly easier to get going with, but not hugely.

I will give you that there is a huge discrepancy between the ambition and the execution of many wannabes who buy into the idea that anyone can make a game and that Unity gives you all the tools. It does - but you have to learn how to use them.

The comparison with Photoshop is apt; it is an utter powerhouse. Vastly more powerful than most other tools out there, but you have to learn how to drive it. Nothing is going to change the fact that you have to invest some time with your tools to be able to use them well. Now, there are tools that for some uses are easier to drive and better suited for form (I don't imagine doing pixel work in PS is fun, especially when things like Aseprite exist), but even those have a learning curve. It's a much shallower learning curve but you have a lower ceiling attached. The financial argument never quite convinced me; it's £120 a year for the subscription, you'd need to be several years in to justify the cost of a laptop, and I find at least that access to Adobe Fonts can be worth it too.

For non pixel work, other options exist, whether you want to talk about GIMP (whose functionality is 70% of PS's with an even crappier learning curve), or Krita, or Paint.NET or MyPaint or Corel's products (I haven't touched Corel's products in many years - I think their acquisition of Jasc made me feel uncomfortable), but even so they still all need some learning to get the best out of them. You will likely find you get somewhere faster in some of them than others, though. But no tool is going to just magically transform you or your ideas into reality.

As for using Unity in a team, I don't have a lot of experience in that department, but I can see how it could be applicable; then again I assume this is because they don't really target the team angle so much as the small indie who will be a person receiving assets from others and building the thing, and for bigger teams, Unity's source control offering exists. I do think the build server angle is a problem, though - as even their in-house team was complaining about it, and it's come up in multiple game dev conferences over the years.

In any case I hate to be that guy: most platforms have issues around multi-person development, especially in the mobile landscape. The same pain points, too: replicating environments, consistency of assets, consistency of builds, deployability of builds to shared environments. Large companies have entire teams for making this happen - have been on a couple over the years! Have also built my own build servers too, and they weren't building Unity... I don't think this is a Unity specific problem at all, but I could see an argument that Unity doesn't help itself in the way that, say, Godot goes out of its way to do so.

But I will also come back to the amount of nonsense the current game consumer talks when it comes to these games. You can build great games in any engine; you can build awful games in any engine. You could be Warner Brothers, building Arkham Knight on Unreal Engine 3 and make the PC port of the game so underperforming that you pull it from Steam. Or you could be Blizzard and build Hearthstone in Unity.

They're tools for a job, they need to be learned like any other and some do different jobs better than any others - it's not philosophical, it's just practical.
 

Crims

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I'll elaborate a bit more about the barrier to entry. Unity compared with something like Dreams or WYSIWYG style game system (like The Sims) isn't really easy to learn. Compared to Godot (a C++ engine) it is. The complaint I have is a bit specific and nerdy tbh. Unity gets the job done, but if you're looking for something that's going to make waves... The next Half Life game by an indie studio doesn't seem plausible for that reason. When you really put it in a side by side of various games (A, AA and AAA) it's usually kind of apparent that it doesn't encourage a lot of game development depth


Software really is a means to whatever you want, and my real reason for the question was because all I saw was rehashes on the same uninventive concepts. Entertaining games generally come from a warm interest from something and I think of game dev as less of a hobby and more of a professional interest for the nerd. It sounds like you're significantly better researched for general game dev so in general this is my hashed out opinion :p
It's the difference between 'you have everything you need' and 'it's all available, start punching upwards'. Much as it was more clear and less bog-like.

It doesn't matter if you use Photoshop or GIMP if you have no heart for the subject matter, which is the real end result generally (as a side -- I'll keep an eye out for Aseprite. That's really really useful for me tbh!) - I love Half Life's Source engine and that really kick started my interest for a start (and the Halo forum community).

I did make Unity games with others, though I'd say that it's more of how remote work culture is due to free software. I'm not going to overly intellectualise it, but I think there's a certain degree of 'are they really interested in the media?' that spreads out to how they go about game dev. Unity has a pretty lame system compared to Github and I could go into specifics, however people who are just doing it to get kudos for making a game are really almost all of those TIG forums (who aren't making their own one-man project for themselves). They're not constructive and are incredibly risk-averse, because of a large deficit of trust in the project.

"I will give you that there is a huge discrepancy between the ambition and the execution of many wannabes who buy into the idea that anyone can make a game and that Unity gives you all the tools. It does - but you have to learn how to use them."
100% agree. I don't have a big gripe with Unity. It also has all of the tools that could make the greatest game ever (if you optimise properly) - I've saved a ton of those. My gripe is the culture that surrounds the engines - 'Unity is the best option... and otherwise you use Unreal', reflected in the Unity marketplace for addons (necessary), and in the general available tutorials on Youtube (which are definitely 30% longer minimum than necessary). i too love Godot for the reason that it resolves all these issues with the userbase, instead of buying out the assets and making worse versions (Unity).

Idk how to finish this aside from great post.
 

Arantor

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The next Half Life game by an indie studio
The last (actual) Half-Life game wasn't by an indie studio, though, and they wrote their own engine from scratch to pull it off. There *was* an attempt to make the next Half-Life game (Hunt Down The Freeman) as an indie proposition, but it was... not good.

Thing is, there is no universe where an indie studio (50 people) can go toe to toe with a AAA studio (300+ people) and turn out the same quality of output in a comparable time. No tool chain in the universe is going to fix that.

Unity for its faults is AAA-level tools in a package indies can at least hypothetically use, if that's not egalitarian on some level of principle, I don't know what is?

Entertaining games generally come from a warm interest from something and I think of game dev as less of a hobby and more of a professional interest for the nerd. It sounds like you're significantly better researched for general game dev so in general this is my hashed out opinion :p

That's a different ball game entirely :p There is always going to be the products produced for consumption and commerce, and the things produced to be art for art's sake. And the things that are produced with heart will almost always be better received for that reason, just because passion counts for something. So much of what's turned out - churned out - has no passion, it is simply craft, to more or less degree.

But the reality is this is what gives indies the edge; no AAA title is ever going to survive the sausage factory with its heart and soul intact. The next GTA will very likely be well polished, well executed, technically proficient. But it'll be soulless. Entertaining, yes, and people will buy it and spend a fortune on it and throw hundreds of hours into exploring it. But it'll have no heart because none survive the AAA sausage factories. See every franchise we think of as AAA, you'll see the same thing - in the case of Ubisoft they're not even pretending that they're converging all their franchises on the same core gameplay loops with different settings at this point.

Indies, on the other hand, don't have the same resources to them, but they do what they can with what they have - and a game can be the product of a few people making with love, and that'll shine through, just as it has since the dawn of gaming. I've had more enjoyable and meaningful experiences playing indie-made games that lasted 4-8 hours than I have with 50 hours of a AAA title. The AAA title is prettier, more polished, and there is 'more' of it but more doesn't mean better.

As for me, I think of myself as in the could-have-been camp. I've been programming long enough I could have picked up game dev professionally; Unity used to support something basically JavaScript, and I've written C# in the world of ASP.NET so it's not like I couldn't have made the jump, but Unity just never quite clicked for me, other tools clicked better.

But my drama was never the technical execution, or even artistic ability, but my lack of self belief. I have so many ideas but I am not sure enough in the belief of them that anyone else would ever want to experience them - and thus doing it as a career seems a bad idea to attempt. But I am a fearsome self-sabotager, and one day I might try to do something about it that goes beyond the occasional thought experiment.

My gripe is the culture that surrounds the engines - 'Unity is the best option... and otherwise you use Unreal', reflected in the Unity marketplace for addons (necessary), and in the general available tutorials on Youtube (which are definitely 30% longer minimum than necessary). i too love Godot for the reason that it resolves all these issues with the userbase, instead of buying out the assets and making worse versions (Unity).

I am very much inclined to agree. I also think a non-trivial part of the problem is actually the same thing that we see when we look at post-2011 content: there are people publishing content for the Views. For the Eyeballs. That it's not about sharing the knowledge, it's about building an audience, gaining traction, or keeping that traction. It's about creating more Content to be consumed. Maybe they've seen a bigger, better channel getting traction with Unity tutorials and think 'well, why not me'. But these are people who aren't experts in making tutorials, or in Unity, and it shows. The Godot tutorials I've watched are significantly better in that regard because it's not yet - I think - hit a peak where there's enough interest (despite, say, the GMTK 2022 Jam having more Godot entries than previous years, coming in solidly 3rd place after Unity and Unreal). But give it time, and you'll see people making inferior videos trying to game the algorithm.

I sometimes wonder - and this has been my hesitation with my little side project idea - if there's not already too much content out there that, perhaps, we could do with producing less of it and maybe focusing a little on curation.
 

Crims

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I'm firmly in the COULD camp. I've got a project to work on and for me, this forum is my place - a place I can share ideas and not concern myself with the trials and tribulations of the world we have. It's always correct the more you bunker down and ignore the suppositions of the media the more likely you produce something quality.

One thing I would like is a private forum for offensive content - no holds barred. I wouldn't mind saying stuff I don't believe (not politic though). That's how you sound it out and figure out your idea is probably actually smarter.

I have a similar view. My workaround is this: I feel comfortable sharing it because no one can dispute it. With the rise of repeated genre use I found that there are basic templates that are now available that replace Unity as a engine with a simple drag and drop. I've slowly and recreationally been figuring out how to make it a 'make any game i want to make' with no effort whatsoever.

A lot of the post is really about why you shouldn't touch AAA with a barge pole in the 10s, which I wholeheartedly agree.
Thing is, there is no universe where an indie studio (50 people) can go toe to toe with a AAA studio (300+ people) and turn out the same quality of output in a comparable time. No tool chain in the universe is going to fix that.
Several games with hundreds of employees:
Hitman 2. God of War. Assassins Creed. EA, Ubisoft, etc. Barring the second all of these games to a critical eye aren't really fun at all. I've played the hell out of these. I hand Tiffany the unity project I have and I'll probably like the result a decent amount.
 
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Arantor

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I wasn't suggesting that these games were *fun*. I don't think you can look at the latest couple of Assassin's Creed games and genuinely consider them *fun*. Not even if you are a fan of the series, the gameplay long since stripped in favour of the endless grind to incentivise microtransactions. We're in an era where the big titles are literally pay to not play.

But for the purposes of comparison I wasn't getting into the 'fun' aspect - I was simply comparing what a small studio could produce in the same boundaries as a large studio, and noting that it doesn't matter what tools you have, a small studio simply cannot produce the same results as a large studio in the same timeframe.


This was in 2008. I think the root cause is what we're talking about: that small, well executed *fun games* can outperform other juggernauts.
 

Retro

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For me, this forum is my place - a place I can share ideas and not concern myself with the trials and tribulations of the world we have.
Ya, this is a safe place for you, always. I won't let anyone troll or bully yourself or any of you and you'll always be treated with respect by myself. :)
 

Crims

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I wasn't suggesting that these games were *fun*. I don't think you can look at the latest couple of Assassin's Creed games and genuinely consider them *fun*. Not even if you are a fan of the series, the gameplay long since stripped in favour of the endless grind to incentivise microtransactions. We're in an era where the big titles are literally pay to not play.

Yeah, no joke. It seems like you just have to go ahead and make a better game than them with considerably less resources. XKCD knew that back then and it's pretty obvious to anyone who isn't post-Flash. Play to not pay

Retro:
Ya, this is a safe place for you, always. I won't let anyone troll or bully yourself or any of you and you'll always be treated with respect by myself
I'll be the one making it unsafe :p As much as I'd rather troll, nah I just like being understood all things considered.
 

Crims

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Regarding movies, art and entertainment in general (cause games are lame). I think the only way quality lasts throughout is through consistent hard work to you don't have to concern yourself with the reaction of the audience. Games are built for idiots now and it wouldn't hurt to just completely nerd like a mofo about the stuff - whether that's retro quality hits. Learn the fun on the way there, and have a good time with others in the same headspace.
 
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Tiffany

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I hand Tiffany the unity project I have and I'll probably like the result a decent amount.

Why thank you.....🤭. Fresh eyes, fresh ideas and going outside of the box can bring new life to a project otherwise built on the variation of the same theme.
 

Crims

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Alright, next philosophical question:
Literal responses: can bohemian attitude thrive in a literal era? Are there places of deeper thought or is storytelling a lost art?
Facebook is easily accessible, which means the majority of judgment is half baked or from relatively unthinking people- No questions asked.
 
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Arantor

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Storytelling is in no way a lost art, merely it has evolved, refined. You can see it across different forms of media.

I am a fan of all things adventure - from the earliest text adventures (hello Colossal Cave) through to the latest point and click (I want my Return to Monkey Island already) and everything in between. I'm oddly less excited about the Williamses (the Sierra founders) making a new take on Colossal Cave, but that's another story.

Anyway where I was going with this. Every year there are several 'interactive fiction' competitions. That is to say, there are competitions for making adventure games - of all stripes - where the winning entries are inevitably the ones who tell the best stories. Many of them are mechanically using much the same tools (or in some cases, actually the same tools) as 10, 20 or more years ago, but the art of storytelling has moved on. We've learned how to tell stories better in the medium.

More broadly in that genre, you can compare virtually any point and click game made in the 1990s with many of them made in the last decade and find that all of the more recent ones are better storytelling vehicles. I don't mean that they're necessarily prettier - a lot of the last decade or so in point 'n' click has been pixel art - but the depth of stories being told is different. Richer, more nuanced, and a lot less about being abstruse puzzle games with story in between.

But while that's just my particular field of study, you see the same thing in TV - we've moved away from 'seasons' of 23-25 episodes where things happen but nothing of consequence so that you can repeat them out of order and not worry (see almost any syndicated show in the 1950s onwards), but this was also in an era where VCRs didn't exist. The culture was about watching the broadcast or - maybe if your show was popular - a rerun eventually.

Then came the 1980s, and people started to have VCRs, which meant you weren't so precious about having episodes be out of order, you could show them in order and people could record them to watch on their schedule. Suddenly shows started experimenting with season long arcs (I give you Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and more importantly Babylon 5 as examples) because they knew that people could watch them.

Then shows realised that not only did VCRs exist but so too did the internet. Engaging with the fans, joining in with fan theories, or not, as appropriate. See the last half of the original X-Files run for that and the nods to the fan theories over the years.

Then you start edging into the era where boxed sets are a thing, so multi-season arcs (hello and most welcome Babylon 5, but also Stargate SG-1, Farscape and others) become more common - and before you know it you're in the era of streaming where you're no longer writing 24 episode seasons, so you're no longer figuring out how to pad for episodes that are clearly low-budget filler, you're figuring out how to do a 10 episode splash and use every minute of that.

--

As the needs and wants of the consumer change, as the delivery formats of those consumers' needs evolve, so too do the choices available in terms of media and how storytelling can be achieved. There are forms of storytelling that are very possible now that weren't within reach even 10 years ago and were science fiction 20-30 years ago. Remember, the iPad was imagined to be akin to a 24th Century device in 1987's opening series of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but in 2010 it became real, and with it new methods of storytelling, refinements of existing ones.

That all said, there is one element I continue to find pervasive: the encroaching corporatisation of everything. The fact that Amazon Kindle allows basically anyone to self publish is a wonderful idea - it allows anyone to build an audience. But only the ones who best game the system win at the same, it's not a meritocracy, nor is it conducive to better storytelling, only *more* storytelling. On some level that might not be bad, but egalitarian it isn't. Bohemian, definitely not.
 

Crims

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Rambling generally, I remember playing (embarrassingly) Guitar Hero World Tour at a friends house, playing the kill by 30STM as he sang the vocal's poorly. And then other times at friends' who had their own iirc. I also was wanted as a culturally important friend, and I am sure if I was somewhere like Scandinavia that'd be the same. People aren't really meant to be used but are transient. It's the little thing's that make life more interesting - and seeing characterisation is even better.

I take the view of Stephen Fry (link) and outright believe the storytelling is gone. If there's a good and a bad there's a measuring stick, therefore you can quantitatively say 'that's bad' or lower. Not particularly nihilist.

I think corporate interest is specific about needing to be really safe. This means being really tactful with your controversial opinions.
Is there anybody else out there?
For me personally I no interest in 99% of online content, being so forgettable that I almost feel like I have alzheimers at 29 lol
Even if making up reasons for stories.

Solos and riffs are very concise, and seem to be example of kept quality instead of lowering the average quality which is the go to of the 10s (which I mentioned when talking about WoW). I have a riff collection from the last decade for that reason (kind of the last noteworthy stuff barring a few (lots) of moments). I'd like to front some stance of note among our alien robot world :p
 
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Arantor

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I will agree with him that the family dynamic of a shared mealtime, a shared culture is fading. I certainly remember growing up, we'd all have dinner at the table, likely only the news on in the background if the TV was even on.

I think the current consumer-culture that we have collectively fashioned for ourselves has been partially responsible for that. For example in my youth I remember us watching the Six O'Clock News and sometimes the News At Ten. Your outlook on life was in part dictated by the choice of news programme you - collectively - consumed, and thus it was common for children to inherit a similar set of values to their parents shaped by the environment while growing up and what instilled values this came with. I would even go as far as to say that it was common for children to follow in the same career model as their parents.

But with the advent of personal devices with which to connect to the world, people no longer have the family curated dynamic. You choose your own news outlets - your own personalised, curated view on the world. Combine that with 'a digital life' and FOMO culture and it's hardly surprising that people will retreat to their own environment to process that.

However I think Messr Fry's own narrative there rather supports the view that storytelling absolutely continues to exist, rather than that it doesn't. We don't have the communal storytelling that we once had - but instead we have a thousand stories all being told, all the press of a few buttons away. We don't make the same tight bonds with those in the same physical proximity, while we make connections with individuals the whole world away.

The human race is hyperconnected in a way it has no understanding of, no capacity to truly grasp and every single one of these people is reaching out in a desperate bid to understand themselves and their perspective on this thing we call the universe. The difference is that instead of the stories being our family unit, they're on the internet and distance is no longer a barrier to a meaningful connection.

Storytelling has merely evolved. That which moves us is now more personalised. And, tragically, far more commoditised than it ever had any business being.
 

Crims

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I think the current consumer-culture that we have collectively fashioned for ourselves has been partially responsible for that. For example in my youth I remember us watching the Six O'Clock News and sometimes the News At Ten. Your outlook on life was in part dictated by the choice of news programme you - collectively - consumed, and thus it was common for children to inherit a similar set of values to their parents shaped by the environment while growing up and what instilled values this came with. I would even go as far as to say that it was common for children to follow in the same career model as their parents.

But with the advent of personal devices with which to connect to the world, people no longer have the family curated dynamic. You choose your own news outlets - your own personalised, curated view on the world. Combine that with 'a digital life' and FOMO culture and it's hardly surprising that people will retreat to their own environment to process that.

However I think Messr Fry's own narrative there rather supports the view that storytelling absolutely continues to exist, rather than that it doesn't. We don't have the communal storytelling that we once had - but instead we have a thousand stories all being told, all the press of a few buttons away. We don't make the same tight bonds with those in the same physical proximity, while we make connections with individuals the whole world away.

The human race is hyperconnected in a way it has no understanding of, no capacity to truly grasp and every single one of these people is reaching out in a desperate bid to understand themselves and their perspective on this thing we call the universe. The difference is that instead of the stories being our family unit, they're on the internet and distance is no longer a barrier to a meaningful connection.

Storytelling has merely evolved. That which moves us is now more personalised. And, tragically, far more commoditised than it ever had any business being.
It seems more like pressure than actual priority, and I'd rather put my head in a book in that position. it'd be neat to have some media (not just games) we can all bond over. Our anxious society basically makes as much progress, nothing really speaks the truth.
I had a pretty bs day today, though I found a bunch of my old fun things and memories, which Def took higher precedence to just robotically making a game. As fun as the game is, I have a lot of reminders with it which is blocking progress. What does this have to do with bohemianism? I can't see any reason for the majority of intellectualism in all honesty. History has shown it to be an active factor which makes it a actual fact.

It's an easy way to avoid the problem though I believe that the real solution is owning your own need for creative expression and saying 'Id rather be wrong and punished' than be a... for lack of better word boring p***k like 99% of the people i know. (though I'm probably just projecting my own expectations here)

I personally have like maybe 2 or 3, chances a day to tell a story . that's it. I don't have the right amount of time to refine my storytelling and wit compared to high school. So keeping it flowing is the best I can do.
 
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