SOME POINTLESS MEANDERING ABOUT GAMERS (AKA: MEET YOUR AUDIENCE)

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Craze
RMN's supervillain, and enjoying it
9940
calunio
I mean, sometimes I think RMN is like a bubble. We (and I include myself) are pretty clueless as to what goes on outside. I could list (and I'd need some research) a bunch of indie games that are at least as popular as Spelunky, and I bet most people wouldn't have heard of them. I also bet none of them are RPGs. Maybe we THINK we're making games for a wide audience because that audience is all we know. But the world is much, much, much, much bigger than that.


this is why I constantly call it the incestuous cesspool

alterego
I don't think so. You seem to keep hating on games for the same shallow reasons. But we like you anyway, though. ;D


...

Enlighten me as to why I am so shallow, please?
author=calunio
Soli I don't think anyone is being that ambitious!

I think you're forgetting that some of the RMN people here actually work on other fields of game development what I mean is...working commercially/professionally/freelancing/collaborated outside of RM* Games.

And that some are that ambitious. I know a few folks in here that are on their way there right now.
YES, TO THAT PERSON WHO IS READING THIS BY ANY CHANCE, IT'S YOU.
author=Craze
Enlighten me as to why I am so shallow, please?

I said that in a jesting fashion, you know? But let's just add that the day I see you giving a fair chance to one of those games you dislike so much, instead of taking the same old tired jabs at them, I may change my mind. I mean, I like your supervillan-ey ways; You often raise good points in your reviews, for example. But from there to think you're being objective or thorough, there's a distance.

Gee, why am I even replying to this? <_> Oh, well...

Edit: RMN's mob mentality? Who are you? Max McGee? xD You're overall a cool dude. Take it and run with it. =P
Craze
RMN's supervillain, and enjoying it
9940
apparently I double-posted, whoops
Craze
RMN's supervillain, and enjoying it
9940
alterego
Craze
Enlighten me as to why I am so shallow, please?
I said that in a jesting fashion, you know? But let's just add that the day I see you giving a fair chance to one of those games you dislike so much, instead of taking the same old tired jabs at them, I may change my mind. I mean, I like your supervillan-ey ways; You often raise good points in your reviews, for example. But from there to think you're being objective or thorough, there's a distance.

Gee, why am I even replying to this? <_> Oh, well...

What games do I dislike, and what "same old tired jabs" do I make?

I've always been curious as to how the RM* community views me, since opinions of me tend to be quite incorrect and uninformed - based on a sort of mob mentality rather that actually looking at what I say and do. (It's amusing since my offline life is pretty much exactly the same.)
Max McGee
My name is Legion: for we are many.
8237
You can't scream I THINK THIS GAME IS FUN and then expect your self-serving game to have mass appeal (look at Journeyman).


It's completely ludicrous to be trying to hold Journeyman up as an example of a "failed" game. It hasn't been finished yet, let alone judged. Shit ain't over till it's over.

Also more importantly: there's no reason a game I think is fun to play can't have mass appeal. And more importantly still, I would still encourage other people to make games they think are fun to play. If nothing else, it'll make you a lot more likely to finish your game than making something you hate, but think might be popular.

By the way, does anyone actually fucking do that?

author=NewBlack
Okay, caveat.. For now I'm not talking about RPGMAKER users specifically; because that is a WHOLE 'NOTHER BAG O' BEES. So with that said, time for some aimless meandering.

I was thinking about just who "we" (taking the actual or hypothetical stance of "maker of games") make games for but more specifically who those people, or type of people, are exactly - As in: "What they're like"

Okay, backing up a little further...

My train of thought went like this:

author=My mind, a few minutes ago.
"When building games you should probably have 'the player' in mind and try to approach things from a 'player oriented perspective' rather than a 'game developer perspective', sure, that makes sense...

*self satisfaction at arriving at a logically sound and ethically pleasing design philosophy*

After all, I don't want to just make games whose target audience is "other people who make games"... I need to work more on leaning how to appeal to people who don't think about games as makers of them but as players.

(and this is something I would usually unthinkingly agree with because it just makes sense when read alone)

BUT...

WAIT A SECOND!

"The player" is, at least by semantic necessity alone, going to be a gamer.

Have you ever spoke to a gamer?!

You are a gamer, and so are all the professional game developers.
(actually tbqh I'm barely a gamer any more :/)

I mean.. Have you looked at a forum that discusses commercial games? It's pretty much exactly the same, every gamer and his dog is a part-time wannabe game developer at least outside of casual and 'social' gaming.

They talk about, criticize and praise stuff like graphics, music, level design, puzzle design, mechanics and gameplay... In fact that is the CORE of their focus - and they approach it from a "how it should have been done" position which is almost exactly the same as a developer, who would approach from a "how should I go about doing this?" position...

And... With both sides of the fence taking the same position on games, just where is there room for actual content in this equation and just who out there could be said to be viewing it as such, as in, from the positon of the hypothesized "player"? because it's certainly not "gamers"


...and with that it hit me like the giant block of obvious. I have been a fan of the notion: "players don't give a shit about game dev stuff (and in RPGMAKER-specific terms, this is still absolutely true unless you only want to impress other rpgmaker users, this is why I caveat'd that earlier on), so get that stuff out of your mind and focus on what ends up player-side" but when you look at the target audience for games, ie: "gamers" it turns out they erm.. do care about that stuff, probably more than they "should", whatever that means.

See most gamers are nerds and are really into "games" as a whole "thing" (rather than just "enjoying playing games") In the same way that our rpgmaker/game making hobby extends beyond "I use a program called rpgmaker as a hobby sometimes" - as evidenced by the fact this community exists and that people invest a lot of time and energy in their projects, make teams, collabs, forum-based activities, events, friends even.

Gamers are, obviously, very literate in the medium of games and as a result are nothing like the cow-eyed hypothetical cipher "the player" that all of this "intending things for" is intended for. Also, let's face it, if you're an indie developer (of any caliber) your audience is more likely to be nerd gamers than casual gamers (unless you're aiming for the mobile/social gaming market). IE: people who will pick everything apart in ways that sometimes even you may not have imagined. In other words, they are both highly articulate in the language of games (imo: usually positive) and also very conditioned by or involved in the culture of gaming (can be both positive and negative).

So.. Now to bring the RM thing in.

I totally agree with the notion "Nobody outside of the RM community gives a shit about x-thing-that-is-only-impressive-in-the-context-of-rpgmaker" but this is a microcosm of a larger thing because you could just as easily say "non-gamers don't give a shit how impressive/good your game's graphics/sound/music/storyline/characters/anything is" which is an obvious thing to say but it brings to light that making a game, if you audience is "gamers" (and logically speaking, why would you make a game for non-gamers?), is pandering to "gamer expectations".

I mean, like I said, it would be a silly idea to approach game making from a "not making the game for gamers" position... (and it would be a great excuse to devolve into "it's not WRONG! it's just MY STYLE!" attitudes)

But would it really be that silly? ~(+_+ ~)

As was pointed out by the recent topic about gay characters in games, people are multidimensional and not flat characters or cardboard cutouts.. So when you go to play a game, do you really just want the game to be treating you as "a gamer" and to only appeal to that part of your personality? I mean, we're other things than just gamers, right? So howcome most game-design "best practices" focus a lot on appealing to gamers as just that and nothing else? I imagine that, with a few exceptions, trying this in the real industry would be financial suicide but in the amateur sphere we don't have that much to lose... so...

Howcome our standards of what makes an amateur game "good" consist of three things:
1) Emulation of professional (aka: made in large part to make money) games in as many ways as possible, as much as possible.
2) Half-hearted attempts to subvert conventions of professional games to be edgy whilst still holding on to them (Do the opposite for the sake of being different rather than for more relevant or "deeper" reasons).
3) Affirmation of personal biases about how we think games should be. (yeah, kinda hard to avoid that one!)

(this doesn't mean that I'm saying "if your game in any way emulates professional games that is a bad thing!" or *apply to the other two points* but rather that I'm asking why the standard of what are considered VALID design choices or, "GOOD GAM MAK YO" is based on these three things)

yeah. I said a bunch of stuff there that probably didn't make much sense.

Thoughts? :>


This is something I've thought about a fair piece and...what I've concluded is...

I...hate?...gamers.

Gamers are super fucking obnoxious and I don't like being around them.

I mean I'm one and so are most of my friends but naturally we're the exception.

Right?

Right????

And then I realize all these filth-encrusted grognards probably think that, and that's part of the problem.

And even if empirical observation would prove out that we're less repugnant than most, it's still not an attitude that's helping. Geeks hating geeks, trolls trolling trolls, and so forth.

Of course, with the above I'm talking about gamers in the non-video-game sense. I'm talking about people who are in the tabletop gaming subculture, whether RPGs, war games, or CCGs. They're very similar to hardcore videogamers and there's tons of overlap, but overall their level of hygiene and social skills tend to be somewhat worse than the people who just play videogames and don't touch any of the "hard stuff"--WoW shut-ins notwithstanding.

And speaking of audience size, interestingly enough, the "gamers" I'm talking about are a much smaller audience size than videogamers, even looking at just hardcore video game players. Now that the D&D boom of the early 2000s has come and gone (3E/3.5E was the most popular edition ever, and 4E is a miserable commercial failure compared to it, and a huge money-loser) the sample size of people who play tabletop RPGs is probably closer to the sample size of people who've heard of Spelunky or Cave Story or whatever than even being 1/100th of the number of people playing Modern Warfare or WoW or mainstream vidyagames in general.

Gamers are, obviously, very literate in the medium of games and as a result are nothing like the cow-eyed hypothetical cipher "the player" that all of this "intending things for" is intended for. Also, let's face it, if you're an indie developer (of any caliber) your audience is more likely to be nerd gamers than casual gamers (unless you're aiming for the mobile/social gaming market). IE: people who will pick everything apart in ways that sometimes even you may not have imagined. In other words, they are both highly articulate in the language of games (imo: usually positive) and also very conditioned by or involved in the culture of gaming (can be both positive and negative).


This is an extremely intelligent and even novel observation, but I would rate its actionability as near zero. I don't think that the paths of "designing games for casuals" or "designing games for hardcore gamers" are the way to success. I think you should just design games that are fun.

Personally speaking, I find that I don't design games for the cow-eyed hypothetical cypher. This has been the source of no small amount of flak.

Howcome our standards of what makes an amateur game "good" consist of three things:
1) Emulation of professional (aka: made in large part to make money) games in as many ways as possible, as much as possible.
2) Half-hearted attempts to subvert conventions of professional games to be edgy whilst still holding on to them (Do the opposite for the sake of being different rather than for more relevant or "deeper" reasons).
3) Affirmation of personal biases about how we think games should be. (yeah, kinda hard to avoid that one!)


Our standards are neither as uniform nor as codified as you think. There isn't even an "our standards" anyway, there's a your standards, a my standards, a calunio's standards and a solitayre's standards and so and so forth. "Our standards" isn't even a melting pot or a common denominator, it's a constantly redefined chimera.
slash
You've got no skill, you've got no sense, and now you've got no life!
3010
Oh man, I thought we were talking about Journeyman Project for a minute. Damn.

So here are my numerologically-oriented thoughts:

1) So despite what anyone ever says, you can make a great game in any medium, be it RPG Maker (VX or 2k3 hurr hurr), Game Maker, pen & paper, whatever. That's not to say they're all equal. There's little reason to use RPG Maker to make an action game, or Flash to make a 3D game. Don't use the wrong tool for the job, and some tools are wrong more than others. Do your research.

2) If you're a hobbyist and you do this to relax from your day job, whatever. Make a game for yourself, and don't be surprised when it gets mediocre reviews because that's not why you made it! But, if you are trying to progress as a game developer, and you really want to improve, you need to strive to progress. This requires some actual work. You need to constantly be reading articles, learning about new tools or strategies, and of course and above all else, actually put time into game development.

3) As far as RPGs go, there are a bunch of truly core experiences RPGs excel at creating: Feelings of exploration, wonder, newness, awe, character growth and achievement, clever strategy, reward for hard work, etc. This makes sense when tied to typical RPG mechanics (level-ups, equipment, seeing new towns/places, heavy story) but most people don't even think about why these mechanics exist, and if you clone a mechanic without knowing its purpose, it's nearly impossible to masterfully design the mechanic. Games that pay attention to this aspect of design stand out and are more often than not amazing.

4) I appreciate hard-hitters like Craze and Soli. Somebody needs to say rough things and spit brute-force honesty - there's always gonna be enough sugarcoaters if you want more of that.

5) As far as niches go, the great thing about the internet is no longer having to subscribe to "mass-appeal" games. There's a game for every niche imaginable. That's why Train Simulator keeps pumping out DLC on Steam. If your game is good within your niche, there's probably fans out there for you.

Soli I don't think anyone is being that ambitious!

On a side note, I absolutely design my games to be as good as Spelunky. I try to design them to be amazing. I work my ass off to make every game as good as it can be (within whatever timeline I have). I have no desire to make a "decent" game, even if one of my games turns out only "decent" due to outside constraints. I AM MAN. ROAR
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