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EXECUTION Building a digital entertainment empire

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by masterneme, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. masterneme
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    masterneme Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Hi,

    I think this is a good moment to start posting about my progress.

    I will try to write a weekly update if I'm not busy.

    By now I won't post any links to my stuff because I don't want to look like I'm self-promoting, but if you tell me that this is OK I'll put some so you can tell me what do you think about my work and if there're ways to improve it.

    Right now I'm making a Doom Clone, a video game in the First Person Shooter genre, using low resolution pixelated textures and 2D images for characters, placeables and such.

    I've been on it for almost 2 years and I'm getting close to publish an Early Access version on Steam. If things go well I'll do some sort of launch on December 10th because it's the 25th anniversary of the first Doom.

    I'm using the Unreal Engine and assets from the Freedoom Project which can be openly licensed and used commercially.

    Other than that I'm writing all the code and making the levels myself.

    If things go well I plan on using Blender to make high quality pre-rendered textures and sprites to not depend on the Freedoom community for graphics.

    If things go very well I'll get someone for the sound and music.

    And if things go really REALLY well I'll build a team to make more stuff with in-house assets.

    I've been getting feedback from people and the majority likes it.

    It's meant to be a revivification of the experience we got from 90's shooters, with more action and all the focus on the gameplay with no filler, without any of the things that make modern shooters today like regenerating health, linear maps full of cut-scenes and little to none replayability on single player.

    Also no microtransactions, loot boxes and all that crap.

    Because I'm using a modern game engine I don't have any of the limitations there were in the 90's. I can create complex 3D worlds with colored dynamic lights and with Steam integration.

    And because I've been thinking big and about what would this represent in the future I decided to release all the code for free.

    A level editor is cool, an SDK/Dev Kit for people to make mods is better. What's even better than that? What would give the biggest impact and offer the most value?

    What about streamlining the whole dev process, package it easy and offer it to everyone?

    That's what I'm doing. I want to build a whole community that allows to not only release cool mods and total conversions, I will facilitate people to build their projects as stand-alone games and release them as they wish, commercially or not.

    Why?

    Because why the f**k not?

    This is the general explanation of my project, let's talk more specifically about its state right now.

    I got approved on Steam some weeks ago and I put a very basic Store Page that can be seen on the Coming Soon section, this allows me to activate the Community Hub to interact with people.

    I recorded a video with gameplay and took some screenshots. I'm surprised that people are actually liking it because I think it doesn't look very good at this moment.

    I also launched an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign last week.

    And of course I've been uploading videos to my Youtube channel to describe my progress.

    My plan now is to keep improving the game logic while the IGG campaign is live. Whether is successful or not doesn't matter, it's just a way to spread the word, get traffic and interact with people.

    Sure, if it makes money that would be a clear sign that the product is very interesting and people are hyped.

    And that's it for now, things to do this week:

    Implement more enemies and the infight system.
    Update the demo map I made a while ago, release another demo with 10 maps using a procedural map generator and analyze people's feedback about how the gameplay feels.
    Set a Discord channel.
    If there's time start adding some gore and blood.
     
    Zarar, srodrigo, Kid and 5 others like this.
  2. Andreas Thiel
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    Andreas Thiel Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Yeah, definitely an interesting crowd that you target there. Thought of the following video right away:

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q6UQ2QlRH0


    I would just be careful with the expectations.
    Propagation is likely to have an upper limit. The expectations you actually mentioned should be realistic.
    If you are secretly hoping for MUCH more, be careful.

    Before you get too excited about how many people will embrace your mega great streamlined dev process ... don't get ahead of yourself, there. Act, assess and adjust. I have a bad feeling that the key to success is where the customers are, not the producers. But I would be thrilled if you could prove me wrong.
     
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  3. splok
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    splok Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    Good luck with putting the finishing touches on the game! This stuff makes it sound like you're at risk of pulling yourself in too many different directions though. Imo, the biggest impact things you can do will be finishing and marketing your game. If your game doesn't have an audience, none of the other bits matter. What do you have planned for marketing?

    Also, if you're open to some specific advice, I'd say that you really need to consider how your game comes across in its trailer. A few minutes of playthough isn't really sufficient to grab interest. If you haven't gotten someone interested in the first few seconds of your trailer, then you've probably lost them. You should be showing off the best parts of your game in a very engaging way, not just showing people what it's like to play your game for a few minutes.

    For reference, since you're making a Doom clone, here's the original Doom trailer from '93:

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkaC1-QoraY

    But really, for today's audience, you'll probably want something more like the trailer for new Doom (minus a few pixels of course):

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO90omga8D4
     
  4. 404profound
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    404profound Gold Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    You should start building hype on reddit. There are subs for r/unity, r/cryengine, and r/unreal, not sure which you used. Could also go right to r/gaming.
     
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  5. jon.M
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    jon.M Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    This is cool. I assume it's ProBoon? I'm not that into games anymore, but it'd be cool to buy the work of a fellow fastlaner. Out of curiosity, what kind of target audience would you consider the best fit for your game? How do you plan to reach them?
     
  6. masterneme
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    masterneme Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Yes there's an upper limit, unfortunately SteamSpy no longer gives accurate information about the number of owners for each game so it's difficult to have good statistics.

    For what I can remember there're a couple of titles with retro-look launched this year that sold around 20k units.

    They don't have features that I do but they're from already stablished companies.

    I don't have any expectations being my first release.

    I'm not doing much marketing because, as you state, if I don't finish the game nothing would matter, that's my main focus. I'm engaging a couple of communities to move traffic to the store page to start getting it wishlisted.

    Even before having a good trailer I want a good demo that people can try. With good gameplay I can record good bits for a video that make people talk about it.

    And I'll engage other communities and some Youtubers who make videos about old-school shooters.
    Honestly, I don't get Reddit, can I just post my stuff there? Wouldn't I get banned for spamming?
    Yes it's ProBoon :D

    The target audience are men of around 35 yo, PC gamers who grew up in the nineties. You can find them on some communities and on certain Youtube channels.

    The thing is that gamers are very passionate and if they really like one game they'll talk about it, this is specially true with old-school games because there are not many released.

    If you want I can give you a link for a secret perk with extra discount on IndieGoGo, you get the game when I release it and a couple of extra rewards.

    Thanks for your comments, I'll take into consideration what you say when I start doing more marketing related things, right now is 99% deving.

    Which reminds me that I gotta go back to work :clench:
     
  7. 404profound
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    404profound Gold Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    No, only if you're explicitly selling. If you go look at those subreddits you can see other developers sharing their progress. Just follow suit.
     
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  8. BrooklynHustle
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    BrooklynHustle Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Best of luck!
     
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  9. masterneme
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    masterneme Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    OK thanks. I'll put this on my to-do list for this week.

    -This week's report:

    Implement more enemies and the infight system. Done.
    Update the demo map I made a while ago, release another demo with 10 maps using a procedural map generator and analyze people's feedback about how the gameplay feels. Changed to a 4 map demo, with Game Saves, proper level progression and end of the level menu. My current task.
    Set a Discord channel.
    If there's time start adding some gore and blood. Discarded for now.
    Check relevant subreddits.
     
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  10. Walterbl
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    Walterbl New Contributor

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    Thats quite awesome! You know, I actually have the same dream you do. Having a massive entretainment empire. Going big I would say I want to be the next Walt Disney/Stan Lee.

    Off course, I am going about it in a different way. Mi mission is to make a very popular webcomic, and then take it from there. But good luck with it.

    I am a beggining artist. I can make some free fanart if you want it at some point in the future ;)
     
    masterneme likes this.
  11. masterneme
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    masterneme Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Good luck!

    I think now is a great moment for anyone getting into the entertainment industry because companies are becoming more and more politicied.

    And when you see the numbers people hate that and stop buying from them. People just want to be entertained.

    Did you know that there are several companies hiring "Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officers"? Yeah, that's a thing now.

    I don't know how much money do they want to throw away but they're losing hundreds of millions with these decisions.

    On the positive side, I'm grateful that they're doing it because they're opening a huge door of opportunity for people like us who are starting out and want to give people some cool s**t and have them have some fun.
     
  12. masterneme
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    masterneme Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    -This week's report:

    The 4 maps are done and imported with textures and materials.
    I need to create some roofs because there're light leaks all over the place.

    -To do:

    Roofs.
    Game Saves.
    Proper level progression and end of the level menu.
    Set a Discord channel.
    Check relevant subreddits.
     
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  13. srodrigo
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    srodrigo New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    That sounds amazing! I wish you best of luck.

    Have you considered creating a dev blog to share the progress? This was, to me, one of the keys of the success of Stardew Valley (apart from the immense quality of the game itself).

    I'm curious about one thing:
    While I agree with your statement, the thing that really puts me off of video games, even being my passion and dream, is that I believe they violate the commandment of Entry: anyone can download Unity/any other engine, and build an publish a game. This makes the market flooded, specially Steam (it's doubling the number of games released per year, every year) and mobile apps stores. Indie game devs are finding a very hard time.. Not saying that you shouldn't make it, just that it is, in my opinion, an extremely competitive industry at the moment (it was much easier for indies during 2008-2012).

    Another thing I would like to mention is that I find video games more difficult to "validate" compared to mobile apps or SaaS. You can create a landing page and a very minimal version of a mobile app, but the same minimal version of a video game takes much more effort in comparison, as you've seen yourself. This is driving me crazy, as I'd really like to make games, but I find other kind of digital products quicker to iterate.

    Again, best of luck, I'll keep an eye on this thread :)

    EDIT: typos.
     
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  14. Madame Peccato
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    Madame Peccato Contributor

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    I don't know either, but as a long time gaming fan, I'm a bit confused at all the stuff that's happening around the industry.

    Just think about the whole scandal at Riot Games just 3 weeks ago, where women who worked there spoke out on how they were targets of sexual harassment. Or about GamerGate.

    There's people like Anthony Burch being actual professional video game writers who try their best to push the "anti-male" agenda in the characters they create, or people like Daniel Z Klein (ex-lead designer at Riot Games) who kept posting about "White privilege" on their own twitter with their own game company tag in the handle, calling everyone who disagrees with him an idiot or a crying manchild...and who then got fired about a week later, lol.

    I honestly don't care about the whole ordeal of privilege or exclusion, I'm ok with people trying to make the industry a "fairer" place, so to speak, but you don't combat what you see as an extreme with the exact opposite extreme, which is what's been happening for a while.

    Anyway, rant over, onto the more juicy stuff.

    I'm not a big FPS player, and I haven't played much of the original Doom, despite its legendary status. I've always been more of a RTS player, but from what I've been seeing with hanging around with people who loved FPS games to death, what they look for generally is an experience that involves:

    1) Good weapon feedback: accurate representation of the weapons, they have to be believable for the setting of the game.

    2) Great game pace: especially if you're going for a Doom style of game, some more "atmospheric" moments, some more "tense" ones, and then unleash big waves of enemies to release all the adrenaline that's been building up in the tense moments. Or think about looking for keys in the original Doom. Unless you're going for over exaggerated stuff like Serious Sam or Duke Nukem, but it doesn't seem to be the goal here.

    3) Balanced difficulty: this is actually insanely hard to get right I think, you want the player to not be overwhelmed when he's facing lots of enemies, but you also want lone monsters to count somehow, without being cheesy a la monster spawning behind you when you get some items like in Serious Sam games, they start to become predictable and obnoxious very quickly.

    4) The ammo distribution is also something a lot of games do poorly, or at least have been doing poorly throughout the years. Usually even medium powerful weapons tend to get very little ammos, while saving weapons is a strategic choice, I find it's more often a chore than a good gameplay element. Unless we're talking Horror games like Resident Evil, then by all means ammo scarcity should be at the core of the gameplay.

    5) While the plot doesn't have to be too complex other than "kill the bad guys", in nowadays games a lot of emphasis should be placed on creating an interesting Main Character. I realize it wasn't a thing back then, but even bits and pieces of "lore" that could be collected throughout the game could go a long way with the storytelling, if implemented correctly. I'm not sure how you'd achieve it, maybe writing messages on walls, or attaching them to items you need to find to unlock doors (if such a thing is in the game), or talks with the levels bosses, or the character talking to himself every now and then. The final boss could appear in the early game disguised as a regular boss who then just runs away when defeated the first time, but drops a good bit of info...a bit cliche-y, but gets the job done.

    I hope I helped a bit, cheers and good luck with your game! I hope we'll get to see a video posted on here soon. Or at least a link to the Steam page!
     
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  15. masterneme
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    masterneme Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I'm uploading videos of my progress to my Youtube channel and linking them to Twitter and my website, I'll check out the Stardew Valley logs to see what could I improve.

    I'm not investing too much time into writing things because I prefer videos and demos. Depending on how people react this may change in the future.

    Yes gaming is extremely competitive but I'm playing the long-term game. I have a couple of VR projects for the personal development and adult markets, I figured that because I needed the 3D environmental development experience anyway I could start building a reputation right now and interact with people releasing something I'm familiar with.

    And you never know, maybe one of the games I release in the process becomes a huge success or I get a new idea that's better than what I had before, just keep grinding.
     
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  16. masterneme
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    masterneme Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I wasn't aware of any of this until I started learning about game development and watching video reviews. I thought it was a punctual thing like the controversies about violence in the 90's and that it would eventually fade away but it has increased quite a lot for the last 5 years.

    Personally I ignore it and focus on what gamers want. If other people in the industry want to invest their attention in politics, so be it.

    Thanks for your suggestions, 1-4 are the ones I'm putting special attention to, some people call it "the dance" or "the game trance", a special state of mind resulting from the total immersion that comes when those elements are in the right combination and the player just focuses on moving and killing enemies.

    This is when you know your game works. You can screw everything else including marketing or presentation, if you make people go into this trance and feel great after playing it you'll succeed.

    And for the plot I've been thinking and researching a lot about environmental storytelling. I don't want to bore people with cutscenes, dialogues and walls of text, if they want to go deep into the story and character they can look for clues about what's going on.

    Those who just want to play, OK, click some menus and go for it!
     
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  17. masterneme
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    masterneme Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Now for the report:

    I still need to fix some walls on the maps making weird collisions, but they're done.

    I had stomach flu and I've been feeling pretty bad since the last update, now I'm back to normal, I've been doing stuff that required low energy and I can go back to whatever I have on my to-do list.

    Which is finishing the SaveGames and Level progression logic so I can release the demo.

    Also the Discord channel, start posting on Reddit and a Patreon because my IndieGoGo campaign ended unsuccessfully but some people want to support my project there.

    There's also potential for a couple of guys from Youtube checking the demo out and talking about the whole thing to their fanbases.
     
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  18. lowtek
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    lowtek Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    link to your YT channel?

    Glad to see an execution thread by a programmer. I made some *very* simple JS games in Phaser a few years ago and realized I don't have the skill set to make a killer game.
     
  19. masterneme
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    masterneme Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    youtube.com/masterneme
     
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