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Thread: Production on Deus Ex 3 officially announced

  1. #476
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    Quote Originally Posted by ZymeAddict View Post
    Why the holy hell do they think that stupid piece of shit gameplay choice will at all improve the experience?
    Because Halol.

  2. #477
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by Aja View Post
    Bioshock IS subtle, nuanced, and intelligent, but in different ways than SS2. In terms of narrative, ... There's more to intelligent gaming than inventory management.
    BioShock is not subtle nuanced or intelligent as a GAME - as a GAME it is nothing more than a Doom clone with Diablo-like spells. Any properties not relevant to its value as a GAME are totally irrelevant to this discussion. Once again, you really owe it to yourself to play an actual FPS/RPG like Vampire: Bloodliens or Deus Ex - not only are they better games than BioShock, but they actually have much deeper and better characters and plots.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chade View Post
    EDIT: actually, after further thought, this is quite a good of example of stuff I was saying in my earlier posts too. So let's say you nerfed the big daddy. Great. Simple change, right? Except that the big daddy is made to look big and strong and huge through it's art assets, in-game scripted sequences, and it's role as protector of the most precious resource in the game. A game with a huge strong hulk of a protector who died in one hit would suck.

    So no, it's actually not an easy change. Not if you wanted to do it right. Because the game elements are all interconnected, and if you nerfed the big daddy, then you really should change it's art assets, change the in-game scripted sequences, change it's role in the gameplay, etc etc, to match the rest of the game.
    None of what you said changes the fact that the gameplay is the easy part. Asthetic and production values are the hard part. Gameplay changes don't cost nearly as much, require as much time, and can be done by fewer people than art, animation, modeling, and sound.

    For years - decades - PC gamers played games whose entire data footprint was less than a single texture of a modern FPS. Ultima, Elite, and many other classic games were programmed by one person, and after compiling take up about 300 kilobytes of space. It really isn't too much to ask that modern game developers - with their million dollar budgets, 50+ teams of people, and liscensed technology, at the very least match the gameplay complexity of what amateur hobbyist programmers could achieve in their garages 20 years ago!

    So I totally disagree with your "appeal to authority" - modern game developers think gameplay complexity is unfeasable in modern gaming are full of shit. As long as they can afford to hire 8 man art teams, expensive voice actors, buy newer and more powerful computers and so on, they can afford to consider the level of gameplay options and complexity that System Shock had in 1994.
    Last edited by Silkworm; 19th Oct 2008 at 16:44.

  3. #478
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Near Brisbane, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Silkworm View Post
    None of what you said changes the fact that the gameplay is the easy part ...
    How so? If you want to make a change to a game, the cost of that change includes everything that will come packaged with it. Arbitrarily partitioning that cost into bits and pieces won't help your bottom line.

    Finally, we are not debating the ability of game designers to provide complex gameplay. I have no doubt that there are no technical reasons game designers could not put a great deal more complexity into their games using modern budgets and tech. I also have no doubt they could make a game about flying exploding bananas, which is about as relevant to this debate.

    We are debating the amount of work required to make a single game appeal to both hardcore and mass market gamers. Specifically: whether it is too much work to be cost effective. Keep in mind the intended target audience of any changes is very low: it is only those hardcore gamers who wouldn't have bought the game without the changes, but will now. And there are a lot of changes required to target completely different audiences, and potential knock on effects of those changes. And then there is the oppurtunity cost of not using that money to do something else.

    I await the time when games with SS2-like budget and appeal become feasible for the indie guys. I suspect we won't have to wait all that long. Maybe even just four or five years. But don't look for that sort of complexity from a game designed for >10 times the intended number of customers.

  4. #479
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Chade View Post
    Specifically: whether it is too much work to be cost effective.
    I already answered that point, so I guess you disagree with my numbers. So how much to YOU think it would cost to change the gameplay to make BioShock more challenging and complex, and how much people do you think would prefer that version?

  5. #480
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2008
    Well, you'd have to balance up the fact that while doing that WOULD increase sales (albeit probably by a small amount: the more cerebral gamers are heavily outnumbered by the instant-gratification idiots)...you could instead take that small number of extra people and get them working on the next mass-market-targeting game a little earlier, so you can churn out more low common denominator games faster.

    To be honest, I think the best thing any game-releasing company can do is just release a full suite of editing tools with each game, so that people can then sort things out to their own satisfaction.

  6. #481
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2004
    Editing tools will cost a lot more (they obviously can't give away anything under license so they would have to create them) and are also mostly useless for changing fundamental gameplay aspects.

  7. #482
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2008
    Wait, how fundamental are we talking here?

    "I want to mod Doom3 to play like Katamari Damacy"?

    I mean, unless you want to implement incredibly silly changes, a simple map editor and a code editor is really all you need. And since to make a game in the first place devs usually need a map editor and a code editor...they could release those? It's not like they'd have to go and code up and entirely separate editor JUST for fans.

  8. #483
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2004
    Most developers now use 3rd party softwares under license (sometimes modified to suit their needs) to create their own games. They can't release those so, yes, they would have to create a new set of tools JUST for fans.

    As for a "code" editor, if you mean by that having the possibility to add a few scripts here and there, this is not enough to do anything meaningful. You need access to the source code. And to be honest, as I guess most code is barely documented, even with the source code it would be very difficult to do meaningful changes rapidly. The only ones who could do that sort of things without wasting weeks trying to get the big picture of how things work are the original developers. Some hacks are possible quite fast, but hacks are really error prone when you combine them together.

  9. #484
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2004
    Location: Maritime Provinces (Canada)
    You also have to remember that most editing tools for games are unstable and completely undocumented.

  10. #485
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Raven View Post
    You also have to remember that most editing tools for games are unstable and completely undocumented.
    Like that's ever stopped anyone before. You could give people an undocumented commandline exe that doesn't display anything and nothing else hinting as to what it is and they'll make a new campaign with it, and a better one than the original.



    Quote Originally Posted by Papy View Post
    Most developers now use 3rd party softwares under license (sometimes modified to suit their needs) to create their own games. They can't release those so, yes, they would have to create a new set of tools JUST for fans.

    As for a "code" editor, if you mean by that having the possibility to add a few scripts here and there, this is not enough to do anything meaningful. You need access to the source code. And to be honest, as I guess most code is barely documented, even with the source code it would be very difficult to do meaningful changes rapidly. The only ones who could do that sort of things without wasting weeks trying to get the big picture of how things work are the original developers. Some hacks are possible quite fast, but hacks are really error prone when you combine them together.

    I doubt the licensed software is modified in any way other than adding in custom plugins. Plugins which could be shared out without any licensing problems.

  11. #486
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: Poland
    Someone on the official boards posted a (pretty well made, btw) photoshop of Adam's head on the "gangsta Alex" from IW. René responded with "I just threw up in my mouth."

    If this is the way the devs feel about IW, then we're good, I say.

  12. #487
    Eidos Montreal
    Registered: Oct 2008
    Location: Montréal, Québec
    Quote Originally Posted by van HellSing View Post
    Someone on the official boards posted a (pretty well made, btw) photoshop of Adam's head on the "gangsta Alex" from IW. René responded with "I just threw up in my mouth."

    If this is the way the devs feel about IW, then we're good, I say.
    I need to be careful about my personal opinion, but yeah. Actually IW wasn't horrible, it just wasn't anywhere near as good as the first game, which is the reference for the DX3 dev team. Not IW.

  13. #488
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Near Brisbane, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Papy View Post
    I already answered that point, so I guess you disagree with my numbers. So how much to YOU think it would cost to change the gameplay to make BioShock more challenging and complex, and how much people do you think would prefer that version?
    Did you? I thought we agreed to disagree over the changes hardcore gamers would accept ... ?

    Anyway: my opinion is that, going back to release date, they would have needed to at least make substantial changes the AI and level design. That includes a lot of testing and prototyping. It's difficult (read: completely impossible) to put a cost down when you don't have any experience in the industry, so this is going to be a complete guess, and I might get it wildly wrong.

    I'll use 30 million as a baseline for total development, and guess that it might be another 5-10% of total development costs. That's 1.5 to 3 million dollars, and I think you'd have absolutely no chance of recouping anywhere near that amount in extra sales.

    You could probably make a patch now with considerably less effort which might placate a few people, because their expectations have already been shot down, but I doubt it would generate any noticable sales.

  14. #489
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Chade View Post
    I'll use 30 million as a baseline for total development, and guess that it might be another 5-10% of total development costs. That's 1.5 to 3 million dollars
    LOL

  15. #490
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2008
    I don't suppose you'd care to add anything more helpful?

    "Hi, I am going to make a guess, because I have no idea, so feel free to correct me."

    "ROFL UR GUESS IS TEH SUK"

  16. #491
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2004
    Would you find this helpful?

  17. #492
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2008
    Very! Thanks!

    I don't suppose you have dev costing estimates for any more recent games?

    I've tried looking for bioshock costs, but nothing concrete so far (I haven't been looking very long, mind you). This rather random link
    here seems to suggest that taketwo spend 15-20 million a month on software dev costs, but then that's for..eveything they're making. How many months did Bioshock take to make?

    Given that SS2 was made in 1999, and that the team apparently still felt they didn't have nearly enough time to do a decent job, it's not unreasonable to imagine that modern games cost a hell of a lot more than 1.7 million.

    (though hey: I'm happy to be proved wrong)

  18. #493
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2007
    Location: free koki
    Quote Originally Posted by DDL View Post
    I don't suppose you have dev costing estimates for any more recent games?
    Well then, let's move on to the 21st century, shall we?
    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Spector, University of Texas Masterclass 1, Time ~ 1:37:00
    Deus Ex 1 (2000) - 5.5 million $
    Thief 3 (2004) - 11 million $
    Deus Ex 2 (2004) - 12 million $
    So yeah, they cost a shitload more than 1.7 million.

    I can't quote a source, so the usual grain of salt, but I think I remember reading an article last year that suggested AAA titles nowadays require an investment of over 20 mil for full development.

    As for Bioshock, here's a snippet from it's postmortem, though no costs are mentioned:
    Release date: August 21, 2007

    Development time: 3 years

    Number of full time developers at peak: 93 in-house developers, 30 contractors, 8 on-site publisher testers (see the sidebar on pg. 22 for details)

  19. #494
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2004
    The point is those high cost are simply due to graphics, animation and other multimedia assets. That's why Wii games cost less. Here's a quote from Ken Levine : "In BioShock we basically spent the budget to make our art assets and the technology to render a lot of art assets at once to make a believable world" (Taken from here).

    In order to add a "hardcore" mode to a mass market game, you don't need a new engine, new textures, new animations... You just need to adjust the gameplay. In the case of BioShock, it's very easy to evaluate what would need to be done in order to turn it with the same kind of gameplay as System Shock 2 because both games, from a design point of view, are very similar. Even level design wouldn't need much changes (except maybe for medical which was far too linear). Apart from the overall gameplay, the only real difference is that BioShock was a shorter game than System Shock 2, but I don't view this as a problem (I played much shorter games than BioShock in the 80s). Saying it would cost 1.5 to 3 millions to adjust the gameplay to make it like System Shock 2, makes no sense.

  20. #495
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Near Brisbane, Australia
    99% of game development cost is labour. If we go by a rule of thumb which says that the true cost of a computer programmer is roughly twice their salary (I heard that once, but insert usual disclaimers here about me not knowing what I'm talking about) and apply that to other members of the team: 1.5 mill would be about the cost of hiring ten guys for a year.

    Which is roughly in line with the sort of work I have previously claimed would be involved. Substantially changing AI and gameplay, testing and prototyping, some resulting level, art, and tech redesign. You'd probably want to change the level design anyway to provide less clues where the player should go.

    So if you buy my previous arguments (which of course you don't), then 1.5 million is a reasonable guess. The extra 1.5 million may or may not happen when something goes wrong. Something always goes wrong ...

  21. #496
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    Chade -

    I'm having trouble following your argument.

    First, you're basically trying to tell Papy that he wants something different than he's asking for. I think if it's possible for the Bioshock devs to please Papy with just some interface changes, relatively minor AI changes, and resource balancing, then it would be possible to please most of the "hardcore" crowd too.

    Second, even if he did accept your argument that changes to the tech, art, and level design would be required, that still doesn't represent an additional cost burden for developing a new game. You're looking at it from the perspective of modifying an already developed game and thus you're double counting the cost of modified art, levels, and tech. In a new game, you're not going to have different art, levels, and tech for the "hardcore" mode than you would for the "console kiddie" mode.

  22. #497
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Near Brisbane, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    I think if it's possible for the Bioshock devs to please Papy with just some interface changes, relatively minor AI changes, and resource balancing, then it would be possible to please most of the "hardcore" crowd too.

    ...

    In a new game, you're not going to have different art, levels, and tech for the "hardcore" mode than you would for the "console kiddie" mode.
    I don't see a flood of people declaring that playing BS without vita chambers "changes everything", the way Papy has. I think it's great that Papy has changed his mind on BS, but I haven't seen many others copying him.

    Also, I have seen people struggle to navigate through DX:IW's opening level (I have had to help people find Billie Adams apartment, and the lockers next to the basket ball court). You do need different levels. If you want to do it properly, at any rate.

  23. #498
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2008
    In addition to extra dev costs, don't forget that testing a corridor shooter is a hell of a lot less onerous than testing something like SS2 or DX, too. The more complexity, the more possible actions need testing, so you need more testers, and they need more time.

    It all adds up.

  24. #499
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Chade View Post
    I don't see a flood of people declaring that playing BS without vita chambers "changes everything", the way Papy has.
    That's in big part because I was not such a big fan of SS2 in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I loved SS2, I praised it to other people, but I played it fully only once (ok, maybe twice, I must admit I'm not sure about what I did 8 years ago). So basically, my desire to have a true sequel was not as high as a lot of other people. Also, maybe you are misunderstanding me. Turning off Vita-Chambers change BioShock from an extremely boring game to a very good FPS, certainly the best from my point of view (which I guess is not that difficult since I don't like FPS) but it doesn't change BioShock into a SS2 spiritual successor (from a gameplay point of view).

    On the other hand, I am a big fan of Deus Ex. So you can be sure that even if I can turn off auto-heal, I'm almost certain it won't be enough for me. I want a true sequel to Deus Ex and another FPS, no matter how good it is, won't cut it. Having said that, as it now seems obvious Deus Ex 3 won't be a true sequel to Deus Ex, maybe my mourning will be over by the time the game is released and, maybe, I could still view it as an acceptable game... who knows. (Of course, that is if I don't boycott the game.)

    BTW, another reason turning off Vita-Chambers worked for me is because the first time I tried BioShock (with Vita-Chambers), I pretty much quit playing immediately. So when I tried it again after the patch, it was still a fresh game for me. If you asked me what was the worse level of BioShock (from a design point of view), I will say without hesitation that it was Medical. The problem is I know I'm probably not objective when I say this. Medical was the level I did the first time I played with Vita-Chambers and this (bad) memory certainly plays a big role in my appreciation of the level. The sad truth is there is a good probability that if I hadn't quit playing immediately, if I had endured the whole game with Vita-Chambers, I probably wouldn't have changed my mind about it, even with Vita-Chambers disabled.

    That reminds me of a beautiful girl I knew when I was a teen. Unfortunately, I once saw her in a not so glaring moment. When I saw her again a few days later, she was still as beautiful as before, but the image I was seeing was not how she looked at that instant, but rather how she looked the few days before. The magic was simply broken.


    Quote Originally Posted by DDL View Post
    In addition to extra dev costs, don't forget that testing a corridor shooter is a hell of a lot less onerous than testing something like SS2 or DX, too.
    It is exactly as onerous as it was 10 years ago.

    Actually... I will agree this not entirely true. The reason is it is a lot more difficult to hold the hand of the modern gamer in a game like SS2 than it is to let the old hardcore gamer find his own solution and suck it up when he screws up. Look at the thread "You can get forever stuck at one place in Deus Ex even if you don't die?" to understand what I mean. But as a gameplay made for the old hardcore gamer doesn't need to be tested as thoroughly as the gameplay targeted for the modern gamer, the extra cost doesn't apply.
    Last edited by Papy; 22nd Oct 2008 at 08:33.

  25. #500
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2008
    It's not the handholding, it's the making sure the game can handle all the crazy shit that us people who play games the old way can come up with. If you want some nice clever multilinear cerebral stealth game you might be annoyed if you find that one of the ways through a level was unanticipated, and thus fucks the game as a result. The more ways you can do something, the more ways that very something can become horribly borked. It's generally worse nowadays because the games are more complicated technically, and the players are less forgiving.

    Plus you have to FIND the "cerebral multilinear gameplay"-appreciating beta testers, first.

    And all of this with EA or whoever breathing down your neck asking why you haven't released yet.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying doing all this is unfeasible, it's just..not feasible enough in the minds of the people who handle all the actual money. I didn't say I liked it, either, but I do understand their reasoning.


    Much like in evolution, the ones that are most successful are rarely those that do things 'best', they're ones that do things 'just good enough', and do them 'faster and more often'.

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