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Game Development: A Different Approach

December 31, 2014

The Halo 5 Beta offers a competitive FPS gaming experience designed by competitive gamers. The new map “Empire” offers geometry which allows for all of the new features of gameplay to be on display and is a lot of fun, even just to watch.  It got me thinking, in the Kickstarter mindset, how many people are playing it and wishing they could buy Halo 5 now if it came with the promise that they could continue to play the “beta” and get updates until the full, finished product was in their hands?

Personally, I am weary of buying new games expecting a Nintendo-like solid experience, and getting stuff that would have made PC gamers blush fifteen years ago.  Gamers get (justifiably) livid when they pay $60 for a game and then discover that it is, for practical purposes, unplayable.  Yet, we are willing to put up with all sorts of problems in Alpha and Beta builds.  What if triple A developers, allowed consumers, not only to pre-order the game, but to actually buy the game, and continue playing the stable builds as the developer moved from milestone to milestone?

Herandar introduced me to RimWorld, and though I haven’t gone ahead and purchased the game, the nature of its development in particular, is fascinating to me.  From its successful Kickstarter:

RimWorld’s development is arranged into “modules”. The plan is to work until one module is finished, release it, and then choose the next based on what people want. This way, the game will grow organically according to the feedback of the community, while remaining playable at all times.

As a Kickstarter backer, you’ll be one of the voices with the most influence over which direction we take the game. Perhaps you’ll like some of the modules I’m interested in below. And if you’ve got an idea for another, please let us know.

Note that this list of modules isn’t a roadmap or a plan. These may not all ever be finished. They’re options I’m offering to the community. Which way should we take the game after the Kickstarter?

RimWorld has sold over 50,000 copies and is now on Alpha 8, nowhere near being finished.  Lead developer, Tynan Sylvester, has published a book called Designing Games: A Guide to Engineering Experiences and is committed to further development and iteration of RimWorld for years to come.

In this “pure” a form, it would neither be practical nor desirable as a development model for a triple A game.  However, I would pay $60 today, for Halo 5 as is, with the promise that I would continue to receive the new content as it was made available, even without being offered the opportunity to provide feedback.  I would have done the same for Evolve and I would do the same, right now, for The Division.  (Note: in the case of Halo 5, it would be more for the boys than for me.)

2013 and 2014 were utter disasters for game launches.  The fully priced games were either broken out of sight, or they were so lacking in content that we abandoned them.  Nowadays, we are practically the alpha and beta testers anyway.  Why not get the joy out of being able to play the game “now”, and with the forgiving attitude that is willing to cut the devs some slack for not offering a perfect or full-content experience?

Happy New Year, Everyone!  Stay safe and may you have the mustard to make your Resolutions come true!  (Or have the balls not to make them in the first place.)  😉    ❤

  1. December 31, 2014 5:42 pm

    This is on topic and deserves a read.

  2. December 31, 2014 7:11 pm

    In reply to “Average is in love

    Watch the first couple of seconds (a perfect kill medal), and the kill in the last 6 second. LOL (Cornie at the helm)

    • Average permalink*
      January 1, 2015 4:24 pm

      Video is private, can’t view 😦

      Also, interesting thoughts on how to purchase and finance the game. Obviously finishing it would be a concern, with money in hand how does one ever say it’s done on X date.

      But would be interesting, seems to have worked for Mine Craft and DayZ

    • January 1, 2015 4:30 pm

      Doh! Fixed.

      They wouldn’t have to provide a date, and once they started selling the game, people could buy at any time so they could jump in a little later if they wanted to. So, the question is, would you pay $60 today, for that beta with the promise?

  3. January 1, 2015 5:07 pm

    I’m almost worried for AAA games and devs to jump on the community fund train because I think it will be exploited to ruin the whole concept of it. With how greedy the game dev execs get, they’d be looking for any possible way to cut corners and save/make money.

    I’d love to be able to keep playing until release, but I just think it would become a trend that Ubisoft, EA, etc. would jump right on almost immediately.

    • January 1, 2015 6:18 pm

      Just to clarify, I don’t want or expect big devs/pubs to go crowdfunding, just to allow early purchase. (And I don’t expect that either.)

    • Average permalink*
      January 8, 2015 10:07 am

      Ubi and EA could certainly use people buying their games and continuously playing them up to release. They’ve had enough issues and bugs to justify paying people to do extra testing, if they could prelease and get revenue for it, woah!

      Suns, perhaps you should apply to EA and get a % commission of all pre-release sales. Do they have a branch office out your way? 🙂

      Jimmy and I did play a few days of the Beta, it’s quite good, still very rough, you can see just how rough if you watch the kill cams for how bullets hit you. Makes me #$%#$ing rage, but otherwise I like the new changes, a much more dynamic Halo without it becoming COD. (in my opinion)

  4. January 2, 2015 12:26 pm

    You got my Titanfall in your Halo!


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