Author Topic: New interview with Chris over on IGS  (Read 3643 times)

Offline x4000

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2015, 10:43:30 AM »
Valley 2 got that comment by a couple of reviewers that I otherwise respect very much, too.  I suppose that having a woman singing in that kind of voice automatically makes it anime?  I'm not sure what to think.

As an aside, I DO like anime music quite a bit.  If anyone knows of a good station for it on Pandora, I'd actually be grateful. ;)
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Offline Captain Jack

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2015, 11:25:27 AM »
Ugh, typical.


And sorry, I don't listen to much anime music. Not enough to know any Pandora stations at least. dotHack SIGN had good music though. I'll ask around, I probably know someone who has a channel.

Instead I'll recommend Powerglove, the videogame metal band. I'm especially fond of their FFVI cover. Oh, and Holy Orders. But really, everything they do is gold.

Oh, I wanted to say, congratulations on the interview. And don't worry too much about not being able to top AI War; it's not like Notch will ever do anything bigger than Minecraft. ;) But hey! You're still in the game and you enjoy your work, which is more than he can say (from on top of his McDuck sized money pool, so it's not a perfect analogy....)
« Last Edit: August 17, 2015, 11:37:24 AM by Watashiwa »

Offline Aklyon

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2015, 11:41:34 AM »
I don't think outside of looking for song names directly, there actually is any 'anime music' category on internet radios anyway. Thats generally youtube and other sources' area.

Offline x4000

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2015, 11:44:23 AM »
Nice recommandation on Powerglove!  They are new to me, thanks. :)

I love that sort of thing.  Epic Game Music is a favorite of mine, and I also really like Smooth McGroove.  Chromelodeon is a mix of stuff in terms of how I feel about them, but Chaosium Sword is just freaking amazing, and Red Max is as well.  Some of the awesomeness of those two are lost in the youtube versions compared to the higher-fidelity downloads.

Also, I just have to say: wait until you hear "For The Fallen" by Pablo for SBR, sung by his wife Hunter (and accompanied by him).  It's his best work yet, I think.  I say that with a lot of stuff, and it's true each time -- he just keeps getting better.

In terms of not being able to top AI War, I suppose that there are worse things.  But given just how niche that game is in a lot of ways, not being able to make something with a broader appeal does bother me.  Not that there's anything wrong with being niche, but I think that's like the third level of nicheception with AI War, and I'd like to at least get up to the first level. ;)  I never want to be in the true mass appeal area I wouldn't say, though.  Then you run into wanting to retreat from everything like Notch.
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Offline x4000

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2015, 11:45:20 AM »
I don't think outside of looking for song names directly, there actually is any 'anime music' category on internet radios anyway. Thats generally youtube and other sources' area.

The songs I did look for I had trouble finding.  I mean, they hardly had any Joe Hisaishi, and that should be the most obvious stuff.  Looking into anything more anime poppy and I just found nothing.
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Offline Aklyon

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2015, 11:57:06 AM »
Well while we're suggesting things, have you looked at OCRemix, chris? They've got a station of somekind on Rainwave, though I usually just go looking for something on their site instead, like sixto sounds' stuff.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2015, 12:38:06 PM »
Quote
..."Animelike"? If anything it sounds like an 80s cartoon opening. Seriously do these people even know what anime music sounds like? Wait, stupid question, of course not.

A lot of 80s and 90s cartoons were anime in Europe (US I don't know)... and personally the start of that song makes me think of city hunter.

Quote
The night is drawing closely, the shadows dark and ghostly,
As sunlight dies, you hear the city's howling cries.

That said, anime songs have changed since that time. Sadly, like most medias (video games, comics, anime, manga...) as the "tip of the iceberg" is for kids, idiots assume that it's all for kids. I stopped counting the quantity of idiots that placed carebears videos just next to "Grave of the Fireflies". For those that don't know it, you don't want to show that movie to most adults - a surprising amount of them can't handle it.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2015, 12:40:11 PM by kasnavada »

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2015, 01:40:42 PM »
Quote
..."Animelike"? If anything it sounds like an 80s cartoon opening. Seriously do these people even know what anime music sounds like? Wait, stupid question, of course not.

A lot of 80s and 90s cartoons were anime in Europe (US I don't know)... and personally the start of that song makes me think of city hunter.

Quote
The night is drawing closely, the shadows dark and ghostly,
As sunlight dies, you hear the city's howling cries.

That said, anime songs have changed since that time. Sadly, like most medias (video games, comics, anime, manga...) as the "tip of the iceberg" is for kids, idiots assume that it's all for kids. I stopped counting the quantity of idiots that placed carebears videos just next to "Grave of the Fireflies". For those that don't know it, you don't want to show that movie to most adults - a surprising amount of them can't handle it.
Eesh, I saw that. Real heartbreak.

The only 80s TV anime I can remember in the U.S. is Robotech. Which is not anime so much as three anime (Macross, Southern Cross and something I can never remember) blended, processed squeezed out and then roasted. Most of the anime that made it over here followed the same pattern and didn't have much in common with the source material. Star Blazers was pretty close to Yamato, though. Also, Inspector Gadget was originally pitched as an American Lupin the Third before turning into what it is.

90s anime was a lot better. I think DBZ and Sailor Moon did more for the genre than anything else could. GitS and Akira helped people realize anime wasn't for kids, but oh man the stories. I know someone who claims he saw Ninja Scroll because the Blockbuster kept it in the kids section, and his parents didn't bother to check what it was actually about.

Back to the first threadjack, Chris, try 8tracks. Apparently their channels can be pretty good.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2015, 01:42:49 PM by Watashiwa »

Offline Cyborg

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2015, 07:42:42 PM »
Just chiming in to say that Rhapsody has some Japanese pop and various mix albums. It is not, however, free. But I enjoy it.


And as far as the American audience for anime in the 80s, I was watching voltron as a child of the 80s. Also known as " go lion" in Japan. You could also say that the transformers are of Japanese origin and from the 80s, because they come from a Japanese toy. In short, people who like anime knew what it was and how to find it. I knew I liked it very early on without being able to declare it as "anime." The bright colors, high-quality drawings, the contiguous storylines, the dramatic acting, you can't get anything like it in American animation, and even a child can tell the difference.


Sailor Moon is a double-edged sword as far as promoting anime.



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Offline Tolc

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2015, 02:52:20 PM »
The OCremix radio is over here: http://ocr.rainwave.cc/ and while we're talking about videogame inspired music...give Miracle of Sound a listen: https://www.youtube.com/user/miracleofsound  :)

Offline Cyborg

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #25 on: August 18, 2015, 10:22:11 PM »
In terms of not being able to top AI War, I suppose that there are worse things.  But given just how niche that game is in a lot of ways, not being able to make something with a broader appeal does bother me.  Not that there's anything wrong with being niche, but I think that's like the third level of nicheception with AI War, and I'd like to at least get up to the first level. ;)  I never want to be in the true mass appeal area I wouldn't say, though.  Then you run into wanting to retreat from everything like Notch.


I wanted to respond to this part. You have a what…multimillion dollar best-selling game… It's really hard to accept your comments here. First world problems. You are incredibly lucky to have what you have already created and the success that you have had. There are so many people that would be ecstatic to get a fraction of that success. You are a lucky person, with a family, great games, and what seems like a great staff. Things are pretty damned good, even if you get stressed out a lot.


Even if you did something with better sales, then what? It doesn't say anything about you, or about your games. I know some best-selling games that sold more and for more money, but I think they are crap. I would rather play AI War over "call of duty", any day of the week. And they rake in billions of dollars. "Candy crush" is huge, but I don't want to play it. Does it matter that we are niche? Because if being popular means you make garbage mass appeal games, I don't wish that at all. I would rather you continue making smart games, interesting games, and games that are worth a damn than some clone game that just happens to strike gold. I don't see what you would get out of topping AI war rather than statistical significance, and I suppose, prosperity. And certainly, I wish great prosperity for you and your team. I hope you strike it rich like notch, and all become eccentric rock stars or something.


But I still won't wish that you will make a crap game.


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Offline kasnavada

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2015, 03:26:16 AM »
Quote
In terms of not being able to top AI War, I suppose that there are worse things.  But given just how niche that game is in a lot of ways, not being able to make something with a broader appeal does bother me.  Not that there's anything wrong with being niche, but I think that's like the third level of nicheception with AI War, and I'd like to at least get up to the first level. ;)  I never want to be in the true mass appeal area I wouldn't say, though.  Then you run into wanting to retreat from everything like Notch.

Personally I think Chris is completely right to be bothered by that comment.

If Chris managed to make a game with a broader appeal, and if it was also more successful :
- it wouldn't mean that he'd stop doing "niche" games. Actually, most games are kind of niche. Call of duty is 175 million sales of the Franchise since 2003. There are 175 million "gamers" in the US alone (I'm not sure what this study calls a gamer though). Still, more or less means that there is what, 5% of worldwide players buying that game ? Maybe ?
- it would mean that he'd do MORE games, and could hire more people.

Sources:
https://blog.activision.com/community/games-blog/call-of-duty/blog/2015/03/26/call-of-duty-infographic-over-300-billion-grenades-thrown
http://www.theesa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/ESA-Essential-Facts-2015.pdf

It's kind of obvious why the games he makes are niche though. As AI war is kind of complex, he attracted players with a particular mindset: those that equate "complicated ruleset = good" and "simple ruleset = bad". Then, he can't seem to create something simple (like he's been talking of a Shmup for a few months, and now it's a survival thingy last time I heard). Then, it's "easier" to do something in your confort zone, and building on the community he has, than to restart from scratch.

Another reason why I think that bothers him he because of the layoffs he had to do.

I'd really like to see what he would do if, during a complete dev cycle, he consistantly aimed for "broad" appeal =). But IMO that would be a bigger risk for Arcen's.


PS:
What I would really like if Chris decided to go out of his confort zone and create a game in which a strategy game lasts... for 30 minutes max =).
« Last Edit: August 19, 2015, 08:04:17 AM by kasnavada »

Offline x4000

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2015, 09:57:13 AM »
In terms of not being able to top AI War, I suppose that there are worse things.  But given just how niche that game is in a lot of ways, not being able to make something with a broader appeal does bother me.  Not that there's anything wrong with being niche, but I think that's like the third level of nicheception with AI War, and I'd like to at least get up to the first level. ;)  I never want to be in the true mass appeal area I wouldn't say, though.  Then you run into wanting to retreat from everything like Notch.


I wanted to respond to this part. You have a what…multimillion dollar best-selling game… It's really hard to accept your comments here. First world problems. You are incredibly lucky to have what you have already created and the success that you have had. There are so many people that would be ecstatic to get a fraction of that success. You are a lucky person, with a family, great games, and what seems like a great staff. Things are pretty damned good, even if you get stressed out a lot.

Between all our games, we've sold about three and a half million, yeah.  AI War is maybe 1.75 of that.  Of course, that's before platform cuts, income taxes, and then the expenses of staff, etc.

I am very lucky, and I never forget that.  But the reality is that, despite all the various incomes that have happened, in the past six years I've had to:
1. Work for free in 2012.
2. Lay off staff multiple times.
3. Spend a lot of personal savings that I'm unable to recoup.
4. Work far more hours than is probably healthy, in order to maintain schedules that still don't really materialize nearly as often as I'd like.


I don't really take anything there as any sort of commentary on my own self or personal worth.  But the more experimental a game, or the more time we spend trying to get it exactly right, the higher the stakes go.  Stars Beyond Reach will have to gross $750k now for me to break even on that game.  We have two games that have done that before (AI War and TLF), and one pair of games that has come close (the Valley games), but that's a lot of pressure nonetheless.

Granted, breaking even or making a profit is not really my prime concern.  I mainly want to be able to do the work I love, and have the staff here, and have some security during all that.  As long as I can make my salary, that's all I need anyway.  So far this year, and for about half of last year, that  was the case.  So I don't have anything to complain about there, whether or not SBR breaks even: so long as SBR makes enough, and/or our other games make enough, that we can afford to make the next game, then that's all that really matters.

Still, there is an element of pride, it is true: I do want to top AI War.  I don't really care about sales in that sense, but critical recognition and/or player recognition is certainly something I'd like.  I mean, wouldn't anyone?  AI War was my first game.  If I can't do anything better than that, then to me that means that probably it was slightly a fluke -- possibly I don't really know what I'm doing as much as I thought.  I'd like to create something glorious with full intent and knowledge of what I'm doing.  I can die a perfectly happy and satisfied man without doing that, so it doesn't keep me up at night.  But it certainly is a goal for me.

Even if you did something with better sales, then what? It doesn't say anything about you, or about your games. I know some best-selling games that sold more and for more money, but I think they are crap. I would rather play AI War over "call of duty", any day of the week. And they rake in billions of dollars. "Candy crush" is huge, but I don't want to play it. Does it matter that we are niche? Because if being popular means you make garbage mass appeal games, I don't wish that at all. I would rather you continue making smart games, interesting games, and games that are worth a damn than some clone game that just happens to strike gold. I don't see what you would get out of topping AI war rather than statistical significance, and I suppose, prosperity. And certainly, I wish great prosperity for you and your team. I hope you strike it rich like notch, and all become eccentric rock stars or something.

But I still won't wish that you will make a crap game.

"The race is long, and it's only with yourself."-Baz Luhrmann

Ah, I see the crux of your worry there.  Yeah, I can see where you'd take that away from what I said before.  I'm certainly not wanting to make dumb games.  But part of my life's goal ever since I was a kid has been to impact people in a meaningful way, and make the world a better place.  If that's with "just" a few hundred thousand people, that's certainly more than enough for any person.  But I'd love to make smart games be something that the masses can get hooked on.  Even if they're playing it at a lower level, eventually they get bored and look for more challenge.  And then you've got them.  Look at the game "Go."  It's bloody simple, anyone can play it.  But if it really catches your attention and you keep playing, hoo boy are you in for a ride that will test your intelligence.

I'm not looking for the simplicity of Go in anything that I do.  And I never want to have the sort of hugely mass appeal that Minecraft does, because that comes with so darn much baggage.  But I do see it as a personal goal to make games that will help people sharpen their wits, think about things in a new way, or otherwise use their relaxation time in a way that would be... fighting off dementia rather than contributing to it, is I guess the way to put it. ;)  And one thing that bothers me, a little bit at least, is that you guys already choose to do that: so I'm preaching to the choir a little bit.  I'd love to convert more people to that sort of hobby time.  Not that that means I don't want to fill an underserved existing niche: but I suppose I have more than just one goal in my life.  I don't have to achieve them all to be happy, or even any of them probably. 

But those are things that I strive for.  If you don't have goals, what direction do you have at all?  I actually hit a "midlife crisis" a few years ago, where I realized that I had reached all the goals that I'd been striving for my entire life until that point.  So what was I supposed to do next?  I didn't know.  The above is more or less what I came up with.

Quote
In terms of not being able to top AI War, I suppose that there are worse things.  But given just how niche that game is in a lot of ways, not being able to make something with a broader appeal does bother me.  Not that there's anything wrong with being niche, but I think that's like the third level of nicheception with AI War, and I'd like to at least get up to the first level. ;)  I never want to be in the true mass appeal area I wouldn't say, though.  Then you run into wanting to retreat from everything like Notch.

Personally I think Chris is completely right to be bothered by that comment.

If Chris managed to make a game with a broader appeal, and if it was also more successful :
- it wouldn't mean that he'd stop doing "niche" games. Actually, most games are kind of niche. Call of duty is 175 million sales of the Franchise since 2003. There are 175 million "gamers" in the US alone (I'm not sure what this study calls a gamer though). Still, more or less means that there is what, 5% of worldwide players buying that game ? Maybe ?
- it would mean that he'd do MORE games, and could hire more people.

Right.  I'd love to have more staff, to some extent.  Not that I'm trying to empire-build, but there are certain things that are just outside my skillset, or which just can't be done because of lack of time on the part of all of us.  Right now I'm looking for stability at this size rather than expansion, and I expect that will be the case for a number of years unless we really strike it huge.  But eventually being able to do bigger things would be pretty nifty.

The other thing is that if, say, we had some game that just went gangbusters and made all the money that we need for the next decade and kept making money, then I could dink around with ANYTHING I WANT, which would be awesome.  And I could do it with full resources of all the people on staff, rather than having to worry about how much that costs and if games will break even.  Talk about niche stuff that we could do then!  Some of the stuff would be a disaster I'm sure, but it wouldn't even matter.  We'd be able to afford that as the cost of experimentation, and it wouldn't affect the overall stability of the company.  What a dream!

It's kind of obvious why the games he makes are niche though. As AI war is kind of complex, he attracted players with a particular mindset: those that equate "complicated ruleset = good" and "simple ruleset = bad". Then, he can't seem to create something simple (like he's been talking of a Shmup for a few months, and now it's a survival thingy last time I heard). Then, it's "easier" to do something in your confort zone, and building on the community he has, than to restart from scratch.

To some extent, yeah.  Although plenty of our players came from Valley 1 or 2, and those are more simple in a lot of ways.  I see the next game as fitting in with those in terms of level of complexity.  Or with Bionic Dues, despite that being turn based.  Those can be plenty niche while also having some element of twitch.

Another reason why I think that bothers him he because of the layoffs he had to do.

Right.

I'd really like to see what he would do if, during a complete dev cycle, he consistantly aimed for "broad" appeal =). But IMO that would be a bigger risk for Arcen's.

PS:
What I would really like if Chris decided to go out of his confort zone and create a game in which a strategy game lasts... for 30 minutes max =).

Hahaha.  I'm not even sure how that would work.  But it would be a really good thing to focus on for the next strategy-style game, perhaps.  Something that has focused complexity and depth without being a long game.  I like that sort of game in general, but the examples of it usually just involve "who can execute their pattern the fastest and most consistently," which I don't like.  Taking out the clicks-per-minute as a factor would be a requirement for me with a game like that.  But yeah, something shorter like that that requires you to still use your brain in a big way would be awesome.  Who knows!  Maybe that's the game two games down the line. :)
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Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2015, 06:39:19 PM »
hey there I'm back! any way I can see there's a shit load here so I'm just going to give thoughts on a few things 1 yeap first world problems are a thing but problems are problems and cant be just ignored so long as you remember to appreciate all the good you have 2 in regards to larger appeal personally I'm not really bothered so long as you remember to make good games 3 personally I tend not to mix the idea of money and games since I personally thinks its a horrible thing that turns some people into soulless cretins(for lack of a better word) but still Id love it if you managed to make enougher money to not have to worry about it for years and do some wonderful experimenting 4 I agree with kasnavada arcen going (I don't partially like this word but I cant really think of a better one at the moment) more mainstream would probably hurt it a fair deal.
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Offline Cyborg

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Re: New interview with Chris over on IGS
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2015, 11:28:56 AM »
I have a question, what's that new icon on the forum page for "stars beyond reach" supposed to represent? I can't seem to make out the image.
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