The serious business of making games

It was. It’s a rerun of an offer from earlier this year. And I’m sorely tempted despite never having come close to finishing any game project I’ve started.

How many successful commercial App & Play store games have used it, which is where many Unity devs are? I don’t think Godot 4 even supports iOS yet.

There are also many things that Unity does or has plugins for here like analytics, ads, remote configs, localization, automated build processes, etc that I’m not sure how (or if) Godot handles.

We’re doing a Unity job for a client (soft launch imminent) and have no immediate plans to change engine. We have our first post-announcement tech call with them tonight, interested in their take as they have many successful free-to-play mobile games, all done in Unity. :)

Godot is not a one size fits all solution, of course. But staying with Unity isn’t either. And Godot will certainly grow (as it has) in much the same way Blender did.

That said, when it comes to mobile development, there are many open source options of various kinds, from low-level stuff to more complete options. And plugins may not all be there, but they will be. Maybe there’s enough already for many cases - I wouldn’t know. But there’s an inherent risk now in staying with Unity, and it’s a risk I don’t think is worth taking anymore.

On that note:

Indeed… I figured this was 25% legit concern, 75% standard Internet Outrage Machine.

Not very long ago there was a lot of coverage around dev outrage about how Baldur’s Gate 3 was so good it would tank their games due to customer expectations now being too high. :P

My guess is that only one person needs to be fired.
And it won’t be him.

That Humble Godot content seems pretty average. They are just 1-2 hour ‘tutorlal videos’ as opposed to serious courseware. Whilst I have not looked too closely at any yet, I don’t think there is anything here you can’t get for free on youtube. In fact I suspect there is more value in just consuming the tutorial content on Godot’s website. There is not a lot of ‘the why’ explanatory content here, just ‘the how’ follow bouncing ball kind of stuff. Like, there is nooooo way this kind of content is worth the $1000 retail asking price. It’s just deep discount learning platform of the week fodder.

Perhaps I’m being unfair and that’s a meta commentary on the state of the media production scene and youtube’s influcence on perceived value of content that creators spend significant amounts of time developing…

:(

Yep, they got me. I launched Marvel’s Avengers, ask me (almost) anything!

In terms of numbers, 10 doesn’t sound so bad for the studio. Do you have a fair severance package? And, with what I would expect are a fair number of Embracer-acquired studio’s fearful of their own prospects, how fares the job market?

Poor Marvel’s Avengers. I think it’s Steam sale price on its three-year anniversary tells all: $4 for the deluxe edition. To my mind that’s the sort of poor reception that is anticipatable a year before release. But, did it feel that way internally? Perhaps around the studio it felt like the public’s interest had changed, possibly overdosed on Marvel movies? Maybe the monetization wasn’t fixed that far ahead and too many systems were still coming together.

Embracer acquired Crystal Dynamics in May 2022. I’m guessing major financial fallout from Marvel’s Avengers tanking had already been handled. Did Crystal Dynamics have any say in whether the acquisition happened? Did critical people leave within a year of the acquisition? I would think it felt like there was a stable funding source, smoothing out the revenue ride between hits and flops.

All of that aside, best of luck to you, Menzo.

Yeah, it’s fair relative to others I’ve gotten.

Time will tell. I hear stories that it’s a tough time, but so far, so good.

I can only speak for myself. For a while I had hope that this next big update would fix the major issues the game was having and we could tell a “redemption” story like some other games have had. Clearly that didn’t pan out, though.

I don’t know how the acquisition process came together.

No, Crystal was, and continues to be, fully committed on the dev side. They’re in great shape between the Tomb Raider project with Amazon, the Perfect Dark project with Microsoft, and some other stuff. But given the troubles with Embracer, they decided they didn’t need a big marketing department anymore. It wasn’t surprising, really.

Dang that sucks man.

Sad to hear that, Menzo. I hope you get an even more awesome job as soon as possible!

Sorry to hear that, Menzo! What’s your typical role? I’ll keep an eye out for opportunities.

Interesting email from the Microsoft leak from March 2020 by Phil Spencer on the AAA games future being unsustainable for new IP.

I definitely see the point, but I don’t know if gamepass is the panacea theat he thinks that it is.

Subscription services certainly do help with the steadiness of income, but I think that the dysfunction at the studio level is beyond that.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find the industrys (or a certain part of it, at least) infatuation with subscriptions services quite weird. I mean, for us as consumers - it’s kinda great (at least at first). Heavy gamers gain access to a never-ending stream of games at a much lower price than they’d normally do, and people like myself who game more infrequently can just unsubscribe whenever. I just don’t see how it benefits anyone else other than the owners of those services - and in the long run (as the subscription model drives a certain type of gameplay) - I’m not sure it benefits them either.

Maybe not, but if Microsoft is offering guaranteed money for a game to go onto Game pass than that’s a pretty hard thing to say no to vs all of the unknowns of relying on regular sales.

Depending on the specific deal, budget etc… for, say, medium sized indie games, GamePass can take them half the way to profitability.

And there are enough people outside of GP and/or in other platforms that you don’t lose too many sales.

For certain games it’s a no brained.

Swapping from the Immortals of Aveum thread… One that confuses me is why Immortals of Aveum has been called an AAA game. The studio had 80 to 100 people during development, according to sources in a Kotaku article. Their CEO says “Together we’ve created a new AAA studio…” But, uh, doesn’t AAA start closer to 200? I bring it up because going into a game expecting it to be an AAA release when it isn’t, mucks with expectations.

From an IGN article citing the UK’s CMA:

According to the report, AAA games that are greenlit now with potential releases in 2024 or 2025 typically receive development budgets of $200 million or higher — Call of Duty has already surpassed $300 million in development costs alone, and the next Grand Theft Auto title will likely require a development budget of $250 million or more. When considering marketing costs, this number can jump to over $1 billion across a franchise, with one large studio reporting that a major franchise’s development cost $660 million and marketing cost nearly $550 million.

These costs demonstrate a significant increase from five years ago, when most AAA games had budgets between $50 and $150 million.

My napkin math says I could hire 200 development staff for about four years for a $200 million budget.

I wish Ascendant Studios had been more successful. I want to see more AA studios succeed, like several Japanese developers have managed in the last decade. It’s a sweet spot for me regarding detail, completeness, and experimentation.