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Games, Games, Games

I’m stuck in game designer mode. I have been for a bloody fucking week now. It’s actually kinda agrivating, because it means I’m not workin’ up to par on most of my stuff, and I can’t concentrate on current game development projects enough to get serious work done on ’em. On the flip-side of that, I found some nice abandonware resources for old games that are no longer in publication (part of my game-design process is basically playing games. The game I’m playing and the game I’m designing have nothing to do with each other. It’s some sort of odd process that requires me to not concentrate TOO hard on the game design, but continue to flex my mental muscles with a challenge. Yeah, I’m weird.)

The upside, of course, is that I have more game designs laying around. Just what I need – more ideas, and still not enough time to execute them. So it’s time to “Re-evaluate My Processes” (jeeez. I’m starting to sound like a business manager after all.) I need to reduce the time from idea to implemented game even further. One way is to use someone else’s engine to do it.

The one I’m evaluating the most closely is Torque. Tribes2 (for anyone who plays 3D games) used the V12 engine, which later became Torque. Very very solid engine, supports 128 players out of the box, lots of effects and ‘little things’ to check out, etc. There’s the money issue – it costs $100 to use it. OK, I can live with the up-front fee – some other engines that have been used in shipped games cost $200,000 to $350,000 at the moment, plus royalties. OUCH! However, the royalty load on Torque is fairly high – 50% for online sales, and about 20% for retail sales. But wait, there’s more! πŸ˜‰

Licensing Torque would be a bit like when I licensed VBA – I don’t license just the game. You get the support structure behind it (and Garage Games is a fairly good company so far), and you get thier marketing engine. One thing different though – with VBA, I get the use of thier marketing engine a bit. With Torque, I get it cramed down my throat. That’s not a completely bad thing – they handle it all from sales (as in, the online portion, handling orders, etc), marketing, shipping, etc.

Part of that is a really good thing – it means I spend ALL my free time dealing with game development. Right now I’ve been spending a lot of time dealing with publishers, tracking down people, trying to find good advertising techniques, finding ad space to buy (for cheap πŸ˜‰ etc. Problem is that it does make me a bit dependant on someone else doing thier job. But, in the long run, isn’t that what I’m gonna face as the company gets bigger anyway? Eventually I’ll hire people to do part of that job, and have to depend on them. So it’s kind of a wash, and it would free me up.

If I went the Torque route, I’d also have to buy a couple o’ tools to go with it (about $40 in tools so far) to make it jump through the various hoops that I’d like it to be able to do and produce certain content.

I’m not sure what to do, really. It’s a pretty big change from my current development techniques – basically, I build EVERYTHING from scratch, including my engines. But I suppose if I was gonna make a mistake, a $140 mistake is rather cheap. But I think it might be the right direction to head.

I’m gonna talk it over with Heabo, and see what she thinks – she makes such a great sounding board sometimes πŸ™‚

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