For the Love of the Game

The plan, if there ever was one, was to make a game and give it out for free. There was this idea, this concept, that the game could maybe be released on Live Community Games and maybe we would be able to find some funding to help push the project through. A way to do this for a living. A new article on Gamasutra kind of killed that idea. In it were the quarterly sales of 20 of the Community Games, and needless to say, the sales are terrible.
Granted, the few games I’ve played on the service are also terrible. I would wager that The Thief’s Tale as it is, right now, are better than 90% of the games already on the service. But even the 10% that I feel are of quality do not have the numbers to support a lone developer, let alone a team.
The highest seller on the list made something to the effect of $5000.00 in sales or so, before the 30% publisher cut from Microsoft. Mind you, this is per quarter. So over the course of the year, making the inherently flawed assumption that sales are static that would give you $14,000 per year. To put that in perspective, at 40 hours a week that would be $6.73 per hour. But since sales work on curves, the truth would be substantially lower.
So, like I said, releasing on XBLCG doesn’t make a whole lot of financial sense, especially considering the amount of effort that would be required to get it to work. Further, I cannot build a studio from it. So what I have to look into is other methods; other concepts of distribution: Impulse, Steam, the site. Then I need to make people see it, play it, want to own it.

I often find myself ahead of myself. The simple fact of the matter is this – the is no money. That was never the point. I’m finding that as much as I want it, it is unlikely to be a possibility in the near future. I need to go big to have that and the scope was never intended to be as such. So, let’s return to the focus. The point is to make a game to show people that we, as a team, can do it. We could give it away if we wanted to. The big idea, was to say, “Hey, look at what we did. Now hire us.” I got wrapped up in this idea that I could do this as a living that it clouded my other judgements and made me lose sight of the goal.

So, the goal. Finish by PAX. Release on the site. Make people play it. Tell everybody. Get a job. Get more experience. Create more fantastic games. Create a Company. Live the Dream.

Having said that, we could put the game in front of a lot more eyes if it was on XBLCG. Provided it isn’t as difficult to port as I had previously thought. If it is easy, heck even if it is moderately difficult and would take a month, I think that would be a month well spent. Failing that, the plan stands.

-In actual game development news (as opposed to production woes) I’m the in the process of trying to balance another Thief move. I’ve found that when I play I have a tendency to use the Double Jump all the time, even when I’m just hopping up onto a higher platform. This in turn has a nasty tendency to ruin my further moves. The Double Jump doesn’t reset when you hop to a hand hold, so if I habitually Double Jump to them, even if I do not need them, it prevents a second double jump that may be required to complete the puzzle.
So, the idea I had was a wall hop. Basically if you do a regular jump into a wall while you are standing next to it, The Thief will kick off the wall to get a little higher. Not quite Double Jump height, but maybe 1-1/2 a regular jump height. I think that may solve it, but I worry that about ruining the platforming already built. There are 2 levels in the can already. I don’t want the new move to break them. My thought is that as long as the move can only be done when you are right next to a wall, it should be okay.
I’ll add that to a big list of things that need doing after the new AI.

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