@Holsety: You illustrate the economic issue very well. You're cheap. Unbelievably, unapologetically cheap. I've bought games I never played or even had any serious intention of playing for more than I would ever expect to see a roguelike game sell for, yet here you are talking about how any price for a roguelike game is too much. You're seriously drawing a comparison between the effort you put into making five bucks and the effort developers put into a reasonable quality roguelike game? "Value for money is pretty important." Value for five bucks? Jesus.
Yes, value for five bucks. Value for one, even. To be annoying, though, I never mentioned a price point and I'm pretty interested to see you start at five at the end, though you never say what you consider "more than I would ever expect to see a roguelike game sell for" to be exactly.
Taking a quick look through the "rogue-like" tag in the Steam Store (picking just a few examples);
ToME4's 6 Euro, Dungeons of Dredmor (+the expansions) is also 6.
Sword of the Stars: The Pit is kind of murky... the Gold Edition (with 2 DLC's included) is 10 Euros, but there's three more classes to buy as DLC for 2 Euros each, so let's say it's 16 Euros for the complete experience. And you want the complete experience, of course.
Steam Marines is straight up 15 E. Arcen Games' Bionic Dues (though it calls itself a roguelite) is 10 E.
Wazhack's 9 E, which is an improvement over the iOS version where you have to purchase the classes seperately (though I might be wrong on this since it's been years since I thought of Wazhack at all).
ADOM's not out yet, so I don't know what price point Biskup will choose; he's not allowing buy-ins to the pre-releases anymore as far as I can see, and those are only being released to people who pledged 25$ in the campaign. I... doubt he'll pick 25$ as his price point though.
Going over the announcements subforum right here, you see a few 12$ and 15$ games right on the first page, even.
So, not to be an ass or anything, but you say "value for five bucks" when 10-15 seems to be the rough average.
I used to buy games on sales too, or off humble bundles, just because I could "own" those games for "unbelievably cheap". The result being me having a load of games (some of which I still haven't touched) and less money. Realizing this I started looking a bit more critically at my expenses (well, as far as videogames go).
Console games; 60 Euro a piece. Games for handhelds; roughly 30ish E per game. Games on PC; anywhere between 0 and 60 before DLCs come into the picture. Then I took a look at how much time I spent with those games.
I got some 800 hours out of Morrowind for less than 30 E.
Cave Story (free) granted me around the 24 hour mark worth of playtime, not mentioning the emotional impact and fond memories.
I got Garry's Mod for five bucks and spent 260ish hours on it.
Bastion for 10 bucks gave me 9 hours worth of fun; but nine excellently crafted and enjoyable hours.
Most Xbox 360 games I have on the other hand gave me FAR less hours of fun. I played maybe 12 hours worth of Chromehounds (not counting the monthly fees to be able to play online!) before they shut down the servers, permanently locking away 90% of the game's content. 60 bucks. I doubt Gears of War 2 got past the 10 hour mark before I beat the campaign (twice). 60 bucks.
Nintendo DS' Knights in the Nightmare's cost is irrelevant because the game is a gem and unique.
And so on and so forth. Examples upon examples.
Yes, I've gotten extremely more bang for my buck out of some games; this might have caused my metric for what constitutes "good value for money" to get skewed. I've gotten very wary of what I'm spending my money on. Oftentimes I'll pay more than what I feel is fair, because I know what I'm getting is something I know I want
. If it's a casual purchase though, the seller is often shit out of luck. That's not my problem. I don't go buying mangoes every day just because a farmer picked them. I stopped buying videogames I don't plan on playing just because someone made them and put them up for sale.
You know why wazhack has to pry and scrape to get money out of players? Because of guys like you who think everything has to be free.
I played Wazhack. I was not impressed. I don't think the graphics look nice, I don't think putting Nethack in a side-view platformer perspective is good gameplay. I think it's clever, but it's not worth money to me. I don't throw a tenner at my colleague when he makes a clever remark.
I wouldn't pay 10 cents for it if I found them on the floor. I get so little enjoyment out of it I wouldn't play it if it were FREE.
Maybe someone loves Wazhack! Excellent for that person! It's not for me, and if I'd paid for it SO I COULD PLAY IT, I'd be feeling robbed. That's not unique to roguelikes. If you buy a game and you think it's shit, you feel robbed. The difference between RLs and regular games in this aspect is that RLs have been free from the start. They didn't start out in the arcades, 25 cents per life, the idea of "if you want to play, you'll pay" being a CORE founding concept.
Wazhack doesn't have to pry and scrape money out of players because guys like me think everything should be free. They have to pry and scrape money out of players because nobody's willing to pay for their game; everyone already interested has bought it, and everyone else sees it and dismisses it. Less "masterpiece undervalued by plebeians", more "flawed game sells poorly".
You ask "Why are you making roguelikes? So that anyone who's interested can play it? Or so they can get money?" Read the following very carefully and reflect on it: In real life, people cannot do things that take a lot of time and expertise without compensation. It just doesn't work. Unless some Bruce Wayne Batman-for-roguelikes guy came along, nothing good can be made in your world of never-pay-for-anything-without-a-commercial-publisher.
That's the whole thing right there: If you don't have a faceless, professional promotion operation behind you, some halfwit will think "you're just in it for the money." If you do, though, sure, he'll buy your schlocky game, it's totally normal to buy shit from people who don't have names. Of course, the guy who doesn't have the professional promotion operation behind him is exactly the one who isn't in it for the money.
I don't think publishers are relevant here; the entire indie scene has matured WELL beyond what it was when it started out. If anything, just labeling something "indie" is the equivalent now of having an actual publisher. Hell, they're practically AA-gaming (as opposed to triple A, see? ha~).
With paid roguelikes I inevitably ask "what am I being offered here that I can't get from other roguelikes, and how much am I willing to pay for THAT?". Hell, replace roguelike with [game] and the above applies to any game I consider purchasing.
Just because Ubisoft is willing to spend millions
to churn out Assassin's Creed after Assassin's Creed sequel, doesn't obligate me to buy them. For me, the first two games give me all the enjoyment I'm willing to get out of that entire franchise.
If more people feel that way, and Ubisoft has to close an entire studio and put thousands of employees out on the street... that's supply-and-demand. That's business
; that's why they develop several franchises at once.
This bit particularly amazed me:
Of course the first impression here is that I'm criminally undervalueing the time and effort RL devs put in their games (and I'm not! I think?). But with RLs I'm not paying for a stellar soundtrack by some renowned videogame music man. I'm not paying for whoever's hot shit in the Japanese Voice Acting market nowadays. I'm not paying to see 3D models based on the concept designs of some ridiculously talented artist to come to life. I'm not paying for the journey of traversing some lovingly crafted landscape (haha! who am I kidding, it's all corridors nowadays~).
You realize that two of the three points you mention here are purely a function of marketing, right? That what makes video game music composers and japanese voice actors famous is the promotion operations behind them? Right? You realize the people who design models for computer games aren't artists, they're designers? People tell you how to spend your money and you refuse to consider spending it any other way. You don't even realize they're telling you.
What? Do you even play videogames with sound? Mario 64's soundtrack, composed by Koji Kondo; excellent. Final Fantasy series' soundtracks, composed by Nobuo Uematsu; excellent. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, soundtrack composed by Yoko Shimomura; SO DAMN GOOD
. Shin Megami Tensei; Strange Journey, soundtrack by Shoji Meguro. Brilliant.
Composers. Each of these is well known. Each of them made some haunting tunes that many fans of these series will remember, to this day.
Ask me who did the soundtrack for Gears of War, or Assassin's Creed, or Dead Space. I don't know. Honestly I don't even remember IF these games even HAD any music. Or what it sounded like.
Famous composers have marketing operations behind them, yes. They're also famous for a reason; they make good music. Nobody's going to spend millions to promote a no-name composer who can't make a tune that connects with the players.
I don't care about Voice Actors, though there's plenty of people who recognize a VA no matter what character he's pretending to be. VAs who give good performances are hired again and again, and build a career out of it. This is simple stuff, guy. Norio Wakamoto's Norio Wakamoto; nobody else has that deep rumbling voice. So if a Wakamoto fan hears his fav VA is doing a voice in a new game, he'll be (more) interested. It's only natural.
Yes, a character isn't "made" by the artist. But the artist is commissioned for the concept, and the art department is paid for rigging the model, painting the textures. Other people are paid to make sure the model is easily visible and doesn't look like a christmas tree or blend seamlessly into the background. What of it? That's the work of many people, and for good reason. Nobody's buying a game where all the characters look half-assed. Spend money to make money.
What is the point you're trying to make? Are you saying an orchestra's time and talent isn't worth money? Are you saying VA's aren't important? Have you ever HEARD the voice acting for Robot Alchemic Drive? (spoiler: it's atrociously BAD).
Regular games have to balance music, gameplay and graphics. It's multi-disciplinary. Sometimes a person doesn't like the gameplay of a game completely, but the soundtrack+voicing+story will still let him have an excellent experience.Roguelikes
. As a genre you offer me nothing but gameplay. Fine, that's why I'm HERE. That's what I LIKE about Roguelikes.
A dev wants me to pay? What can YOU offer ME that I can't get elsewhere for free.
It's not rocket science. Nobody'll pay for bananas if they can get similar quality bananas for FREE.
This next part is going to sound awful, and I regret having to say it, but I can't think of another way to phrase it. Apologies in advance to anyone who makes roguelikes. (of the type: "I'm sorry you're offended, not for offending you.")
Just because making a RL takes time and expertise doesn't obligate me to fund you. YOU chose to make it, and if YOU lose money on that because people don't buy your game, then YOU made a bad business decision. YOU chose to make your hobby/passion/pastime into a BUSINESS; don't blame ME and my legion of cheap-o clones that you're hungry when you're trying to sell sand in a desert.
You'd be a fool not to value your time. You're free to call consumers cheap for not buying your roguelikes and rail against AAA for being shlocky shit, but the truth is, you've chosen a TERRIBLE market to try and monetize and people will always pay for something they desire. Good luck trying to bend a market habituated to free games towards paid games while creating content that offers very little new, at a price point you're likely just making up on the spot without any frame of reference. You might be able to live off it, and maybe one day I'll write a post that's shorter than a children's book.