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Spam Spam Spam Humbug 53 - Game Development Challenges II
September 7, 2016

Spam Spam Spam Humbug 53 - Game Development Challenges II

Let's look at some (more) of the pitfalls that can affect game development.

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This episode of Spam Spam Spam Humbug is brought to you by our Patreon backers; thank you to everyone who supports Spam Spam Spam Humbug and the Ultima Codex by that means. And, as always, a hearty thank you to our Patreon co-producers: Seth, Johnny, Dominik, Chris, Violation, Adam, Erik, Thorwan, Cody, Pascal, Neil, and Helgraf.

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Follow-Up From Previous Episode

Pokemon Go Has Lost Millions Of Daily Users - “According to the charts, it seems that within a month, Pokemon Go has seen a drop of over fifteen million daily users and since the graph is not showcasing the current date, that number could very well have dropped even more. Another interesting aspect that may have played a factor in a number of daily users is the ban hammer Niantic has been using as of late. We recently posted about select users finding their account has been banned because of the use of third-party applications rather than GPS spoofing.”

Pokémon GO is Dying and There’s Nothing We Can Do to Save It - “Pokémon GO was so successful in its first month, that it broke five Guinness World Records in the areas of chart positioning, downloads, and revenue. Now, a few months later,Pokémon GO seems to have hit a roadblock, despite all of this initial success. Recent reports show that the mobile hit has lost over 15 million users since the game peaked in mid-July — a staggering number equating to around a third of daily active users at the peak. With hype for the game decreasing daily and users flocking from the game en masse, I'm convinced that Pokémon GO already has one foot in the grave as it struggles to hold onto its former glory...Once you hit level 5, there really isn't anything new to encourage me to play onwards. Adding things like trading and Pokémon from other generations could help, but I think it'd be too little, too late. These are features that should've been added in at the beginning, while the hype was still strong. It's only a matter of time before the ship finds a permanent home at the bottom of the sea.”

Podcast Topic(s)

We discussed some of the challenges facing would-be game developers in a previous episode, albeit mainly through the lens of a discussion about the potential pitfalls of crowdfunding and the struggles of companies like Portalarium and Cloud Imperium Games (or Roberts Space Industries) to produce their respective games (Shroud of the Avatar and Star Citizen).

This time around, we wanted to hear more from the perspective of indie developers, including those who have (and/or still are) working on Ultima fan projects.

Topics discussed include analysis paralysis; this phenomenon occurs when you overthink things to such a degree that your original (perhaps simple) plan becomes unnecessarily convoluted, to the point of implementation simply not happening. Tweaking is (of course) expected, but it's too easy to play all of your cards at once and fine tune a game that may possibly never exist.

We also touch on the risk of helping the few at the expense of the all, the debate between how much post-release content to give away for free vs. how much should be charged for, the debate between pay-once-and-play and freemium, and (relatedly) the struggle to set a good price for what you've created.

In Other News

Jade Empire to Be Released on iOS - “The iOS port is being handled by Aspyr Media, who also worked on the previous BioWare port Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Quantic Dream’s Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy. Originally released back in 2005 for the PC and the original Xbox, Jade Empire was a critical darling at the time but was never a major title, sandwiched between Knights of the Old Republic and 2007’s Mass Effect. The game itself is a martial arts action RPG, utilizing a modified version of the Knights of the Old Republic engine. The original release included several fighting styles, the use of magic, known as Chi in the game, a standard morality system and a number of companions and side characters, along with a 20 hour adventure to go through. The iOS version is based on the special edition of the PC version of the game, and includes an updated, touch interface for iOS machines. The game will also require iOS 9 or above to run properly.”

Oceanhorn 2 in development - “Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm is set in another time period on the Oceanhorn timeline. The game has a new Hero, a boy who has been trained to become a Knight of Arcadia. Oceanhorn 2 will be built upon the same elements that were the heart and soul of the first Oceanhorn game: exploring a colorful world, a deep backstory with secrets and twists, amazing music, and most importantly — classic Action RPG gameplay with items, puzzles, battles, and badass bosses!”

Divinity: Original Sin 2 Hits Early Access September 15 - “Divinity: Original Sin 2 is the sequel to the first Divinity: Original Sin (shocking I know) and plans to add a lot of new features and ideas to build upon what they did in the first game. Built on their new Divinity Engine 3.0, Divinity: Original Sin 2 features up to four player play, and it can be in this mode either cooperative or competing against each other on objectives depending on how you choose to go about it. These objectives are tailored to your character’s personal story and origin story, which you can help create if you choose by building your character from the ground up. The game’s combat is getting an improvement as well with more elemental interactions and other features to enhance the combat found in the first game. Some of these options include push/pull mechanics, the ability to alter how an elemental surface functions by blessing and cursing them, a new cover system, and the ability to use powerful source skills, along with many other new skills promised for the game. Divinity: Original Sin 2 will be hitting Early Access on Steam on September 15th and you can find out more on its store page or on the Divinity: Original Sin 2 official website.”

Outward - Nine Dots is taking on a massive undertaking with their upcoming title, Outward. The basic concept centers around taking a game like Skyrim and removing the player’s superhuman abilities. Though they are quick to stress that this RPG is not a survival game, it does take some cues from the genre. In the hero’s world saving quest, hunger, thirst and sleep will need to be managed. Attire must be considered based on environment (the example given for the last is advising that wearing plate armor in the desert isn’t going to yield the best results). Basically, the player is not descended from the heavens, wreaking havoc wherever they go. The player is human and must handle human concerns while engaging in the quest.”

No Man's Sky Has Already Lost Over 85% Of Its Playerbase, Pirated Hundreds Of Thousands Of Times - “Data suggests that despite strong sales at launch, there has been a massive falloff of purchase momentum. It's so bad that SteamSpy estimates that it has only sold around 50,000 units during the past week, a far cry from the 700,000 of its launch week. And it's only dwindling further. A couple days had such few purchases that the standard deviation allows for it to have actually lost total sales thanks to widespread return requests.Returns have been extremely common on Steam. Its customer reviews are currently mixed with 24,953 out of its 50,000 reviews being negative. These reviews point at unfulfilled promises by the development team, gameplay repetition, performance issues, and bugs.”

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