Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why no Xblig for me

Today i want to talk a bit about my current decision to not be making more Xblig games.

Simply put. They take too long to make and test and so far the recompense has been way too low.

Now i know some people will put anything up on Xblig. Some reasons given are things like
'It's my first project and i wanted to see it published'. Well guess what, ya probably shouldn't have bothered. There are most definitely some good or reasonably good offerings from first time programmers. They are in the minority though. also the ones that showed promise gave up on the good game before the end and just published whatever state the game was in when they 'thought it would pass peer review'. I know everyone has to start somewhere, and i would rather encourage than Discourage. Only the last 12 months as a peer reviewer taught me one thing. Most people did not really want to do what was needed to get a reasonable quality title out.
'I just made this quick to finance my next big thing' - Another group put out stuff that is intended to make money. A lot of my Peers think this is selling their soul, or selling out. I am also of this feeling. What got you into making a game? Cos ya wanted to make money at something you loved, yet you would bastardize those things you love to make some money. I am very fortunate to not be in that position with a paying job that i do. If however i did not have a paying Job, i am sure i would be on that bandwagon, as supporting my family is paramont to me. (dang i have started to ramble on already!). I could list the stuff, but i will name one thing.. Massager apps, Nuff said.
So what about the good stuff? The games i like on Xblig, and there are many. Only I feel the weight of all the other crap tends to help hide the good ones. This obviously includes my own. I will not be bashful about my games, as if you like the gameplay or not, i would hope you would admit to their basic quality.

In A Shooter (my last Xblig game), I spent more time balancing the gameplay (your movement speed and shooting power vs the enemies speeds and fire rate etc), along with the bosses and design/balancing, than i did coding the game. But it feels like i spnd more time just in balancing my games than the majority did on getting theirs from start to finish coding. Even when they are coded well tend to make me feel cheated by poor balancing, or poor jump arcs etc. Spending that much time is what i do on all my games. So if i make another game, i will be in the same position. And again my game will most likely be invisible. As invisibility is the worst thing about Xblig. I worked very hard on some interesting marketing campaigns, and i believe did way more than most on this. However, i cannot reach the Xblig audience. I cannot make even enough money to pay back my artists properly for their time. that all makes me sad, epecially when my games have a conversion ratio of 25% or close too. this means people who try my games like them. Only not enough see them.

So i am out of Xblig until i can make this Indie thing a more full time job. Then i would be able to do smaller games and larger ones as well. Hoping beyond hope that i could get a big winner one day and allow me to support my games making habit.

Next time i will try to post about why WP7.

Till then, i am gone.
Da Voodoochief

Note: this article does not talk about those teams and people that put real effort and commitment into a game and try really hard to make a complete and well rounded experience. These people do exist on Xblig, and i love what they do. However they are in the minority.

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