Author Topic: Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development  (Read 2185 times)

Offline x4000

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Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development
« on: October 06, 2014, 10:29:45 AM »
Original: http://arcengames.com/podcast-curating-games-and-open-ended-development/

This week I went on the excellent Perceptive Podcast once again, which is always a pleasure.  This time we discussed a variety of things:

  • Open-ended development and how that differs from traditional linear game development.

  • Why I think the new Curator system on Steam is the bee's knees, and why I hope other stores do similar things.

  • Some of the recent flap with Spacebase DF-9 and other similar titles, and my perspective on that both as a developer and a consumer.


Enjoy!
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2014, 04:23:57 PM »
That was an interesting listen. :)

Offline x4000

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Re: Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2014, 04:26:37 PM »
Thanks! :)
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Offline Billick

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Re: Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2014, 04:49:47 PM »
Enjoyed listening to this a lot.  One point on the curators though:  it should be opt in, or at the very least opt out.  Now there's no opt anything.  There will be this big widget in the middle of the store page taking up space that I have to scroll past to get to new releases, and another big widget in the middle of every store page filled with curators that I'm not even subscribed to that I have to scroll past to even get to the game description.  Half of the curators seem to be doing joke/troll reviews (they aren't gone, Hodor Review and Bro Team Team are still listed as "top curators").  It's a good idea, but it needs some work.

Offline x4000

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Re: Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2014, 04:55:50 PM »
Ah, yeah -- that's true, there are still some kinks in the system.  But I am overall glad to see that it's moving the way it has.
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Offline Billick

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Re: Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2014, 04:59:14 PM »
Ah, yeah -- that's true, there are still some kinks in the system.  But I am overall glad to see that it's moving the way it has.
Well, I'm glad that it's giving you guys some exposure.  By the way, which curators are recommending stuff like AI War?  I only found a few strategy themed curators through searching, and they are mostly recommending the usual suspsects (Civ 5 eh?  Never heard of it!).

Offline x4000

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Re: Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2014, 05:04:08 PM »
I'm honestly not sure which Curators are recommending it, as I can't see many of them.  I know that Space Game Junkie is: http://store.steampowered.com/curator/4095655-Space-Game-Junkie/?appid=40400

If you know of a way to find all the curators for a game, I'd be interested in that myself!
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2014, 05:34:00 PM »
Yeah, I need some way to curate the ten thousand curators down to a couple.

Offline Toranth

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Re: Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2014, 06:15:58 PM »
Yeah, I need some way to curate the ten thousand curators down to a couple.
I just am amused by the fact that, going by the Curators listings, TotalBiscuit seems to be the most influential individual in PC gaming - more than three times the total of PC Gamer, the top professional magazine.

Of course, it's just Steam and not real influence, but it's still amusing to think about.

Offline x4000

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Re: Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2014, 07:48:38 PM »
Yeah, I need some way to curate the ten thousand curators down to a couple.
I just am amused by the fact that, going by the Curators listings, TotalBiscuit seems to be the most influential individual in PC gaming - more than three times the total of PC Gamer, the top professional magazine.

Of course, it's just Steam and not real influence, but it's still amusing to think about.

It's real influence, and the difference is larger than that if we talk about sales bumps after he posts about something.  The only times we have ever seen sales spike noticeably when our games are written are talked about are from TotalBiscuit and Kotaku.  All the other heavyweights are awesome, but don't cause sales spikes that we can see.  They have a cumulative effect over time, and are certainly tastemakers, but TotalBiscuit and Kotaku are kinds of forces of nature in their own unique ways.

I'm sure there are other folks like that as well, but that's been our experience.

On the flip side, it was PC Gamer and Crispy Gamer that put Arcen on the map in the first place with AI War coverage, and Rock Paper Shotgun and Polygon and VG247 that really contributed to the meteoric rise of Valley 1 and Skyward Collapse when those games were fresh.  And other sources, even the Dwarf Fortress forums and certainly Quarter To Three, have been ongoing steady sources of players.

One way to look at it is that TotalBiscuit and Kotaku are a short-term flood of sales, and then most everyone else is a longer-term stream.
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2014, 12:12:37 AM »
Whereas i know that TB and i don't share the same taste, even if i do watch his reviews.

The new impress me series is pretty good. In the one runner game i figured out the portal-puzzle before he even recognized that it WAS a puzzle.

I respect his opinion, but our tastes are different.

In the top three pages of curators i think i only recognized two or the other names, and even then only at the "I've heard of them before" level.

Offline Alex Heartnet

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Re: Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2014, 08:56:10 PM »
That was an interesting listen. :)

+1

Woww, I didn't realize you guys were struggling so badly.

Your company probably would of sunk if not for the goodwill with your fans.

Offline x4000

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Re: Podcast: Curating Games and Open Ended Development
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2014, 11:05:06 AM »
Even big companies are often one flop away from closure.  We've had a number of flops, largely because of our willingness to experiment around with stuff.  I did this partly because I was able to shore up some things by investing more personally when things took a dip.  After a protracted period of that, though, I pretty much exhausted that ability.

Overall, company profits have gone up every year except for 2012 (and in general we've had profits rise 10-30% per year).  It's mainly been a cart and horse problem with trying to get staff and pay them well while also raising income more and more.  If you're interested in a detailed breakdown of stuff as of July, it's here: http://arcengames.com/followup-to-last-years-ai-war-postmortem-now-discussing-bionic-tlf-etc/

Anyway, yes, we've spent the last 5 years riding the knife-edge, basically.  That was partly due to my own aggressiveness in trying to grow the company, and partly due to experimenting with many genres, and partly due to a variety of mistakes, and partly due to just the market changing and whatever other external factors.  TLF has given us a lot more stability for the moment, though, and further stability is now my ongoing goal, rather than growth.  I'm happy with the size we now are, and am in general looking to increase stability more and more so that we don't have to worry about short-term financial concerns so much.

So far so good! :)
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