PUBLISHING OLD GAMES?

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There are a lot of really awesome old gems out there, most of which are largely only still preserved at this point thanks to their fan communities.

But there are some really popular, bigger games out there. Like OFF, Space Funeral, A Blurred Line and others that are fully complete games. I'm simply curious why so few of them have pursued avenues like publishing to Steam, GameJolt, or itch?

Sure, some do. But mostly those are more modern RPGMaker games. So so many of these decade old games feel like they're just waiting to be rediscovered! Any thoughts? Or maybe direct comments from some of these devs over the years?
Maybe they used rips... or assets that weren't legally obtained. Some people do come back and remake old stuff with legal assets then sell them. I dunno... some people did it for the fun of doing it.
If by "publish" you mean "sell," well, for most of RPG2K/3's lifetime the English version of the engine was an illegal pirated copy. Rips were rampant. So there's a big amount of work involved in converting those old projects to legal-to-sell versions, and while some devs who are still around have tried it (Ara Fell, Hero's Realm is supposedly in progress, etc), the majority of devs who made the old classics just aren't involved in game development much any more.

The other two games you listed are more recent and they're not really in need of rediscovery if they're already "discovered," really. OFF hosted here is an English copy, it has an international following, wikipedia page, fan wiki, etc. Space Funeral also is listed on GameJolt, has a bunch of mainstream gaming media pieces written about it, etc. That their creators didn't monetize them is because they were created by hobbyists -- after a successful free release, it's hard to turn around and put that game on Steam. Which does happen (Soma Spirits, etc) but it involves again putting together bonus content or redoing stuff or whatever to make the new version appealing. Which isn't necessarily the most appealing thing for a hobbyist.


also there's not really much money it, there's tons of shovelware rm games on steam these days
I'm firmly of the opinion that if you tabulate all the manhours that go into developing a game, and then make a couple thousand dollars on a successful venture, you'll find yourself having worked for pennies-per-hour. Some make it big, but that just goes to show that Gamedev as a means of earning money is high-risk/high-reward, with worse odds of success than pursuing a career as a novelist I'd wager.
If money is your goal, then get a second job, or a side job if you're in school. Keep your passion as a passion.

But yeah. As the others said, the oldies would have to be retrofitted with brand new assets.
All 90 hours of Everlong with all original assets. Let's do it.

And yeah, having done this myself twice now (Soma Spirits, and recently Brave Hero Yuusha) it's definitely something you have to carefully assess and ensure that your new version has enough substantial upgrades to be worth a purchase. Like you can't just add one new character and slap a price tag on it, or people are going to think you're just looking for a quick cash grab and then go download the old one.

author=Dyhalto
If money is your goal, then get a second job, or a side job if you're in school. Keep your passion as a passion.


I'm also going to super, super emphasize the quote above because it's very unlikely that selling games is going to be your ride, and the percentage of indie developers who can sustain themselves on games alone is easily in the single digits. Soma and Yuusha were a nice bit of extra pocket money, but it's not something I'd ever quit my full time job for.

Neither of my games were one of the big RPG Maker darlings to begin with. I really just did it as a personal goal.
JosephSeraph
奇跡なゲイパワー♡
7131
im kind of against this whole mindset and i do think there's money to be made with having gamedev as a full-time career, it just takes more than merely making a good game (or different skills altogether; you could not even have a good game)

while sure, you'll on average make less money than most people working on dedicated careers, i do think it's plausible to make a respectable income from games if you put them out and market them. and not everything needs to be a huge game that takes 5 years to complete, it just so happens that we make (mostly)jrpgs and we're used to games of that scale.

it's definitely a less stable income than a fixed salary, but for some people that's a good thing. i personally will keep trying even though i just got a part time job, because on my asset packs for example, while they took a very long time and a lot of sweat to finish, across a certain period of time they've already paid me (more or less) what i'd have earned if i had dedicated that time to comission work.
for my personal life i think sales are better for me (more than what i'd earn from the same effort put on comission work, but across installments through a year, or two, or ten, which makes me feel very safe as i watch the sales slowly trickle in)

that may be, however, because i live on a third world country where full time teachers earn less than the lowest paying north american part time job and my standards are absolutely bullshit.
author=JosephSeraph
it's definitely a less stable income than a fixed salary, but for some people that's a good thing. i personally will keep trying even though i just got a part time job, because on my asset packs for example, while they took a very long time and a lot of sweat to finish, across a certain period of time they've already paid me (more or less) what i'd have earned if i had dedicated that time to comission work.
for my personal life i think sales are better for me (more than what i'd earn from the same effort put on comission work, but across installments through a year, or two, or ten, which makes me feel very safe as i watch the sales slowly trickle in)

that may be, however, because i live on a third world country where full time teachers earn less than the lowest paying north american part time job and my standards are absolutely bullshit.


Someone should interview Joseph Seraph at some point, this would be a really interesting story to cover.
JosephSeraph
奇跡なゲイパワー♡
7131
wait a few years until im not a failure anymore jsdfhhafsdsf akd gabvagbadfhv............... edit: whew i should stop acting like this
You can make a commercial game in your spare time (as many people do). Idk why it's immediately assumed that you have to quit your job to pursue commercial. Even in the extreme case lot of times it's just people living off of kickstarter money or publishing funding that allows them to get paid for their work anyway. The reality is that a lot of gamedevs I know do contract/freelance work on the side or inbetween projects.

Also I think a lot of people put way too much emphasis on the gold sellers as the only games that make money. There are a lot of games out there that make a sustainable income and are made way cheaper, just that you've never heard of them because obviously they aren't that popular. Like Joseph said I think spending 5+ years making a polished JRPG is an impractical development model (commercial or freeware), so if that's your only lens for how to make a game then of course it's easy to get pessimistic about turning it into an actual thing.

On principle I think art has value, and it's worth selling that value if everything else in the world has assigned value. There's a really bad mindset that dismisses that completely, which I think should just be stomped out anyway. The general culture is changing about that though.
Tau
RMN sex symbol
3272
"A Blurred Line" & "fully complete" haha, that's a good one.
JosephSeraph
奇跡なゲイパワー♡
7131
author=Darken
You can make a commercial game in your spare time (as many people do). Idk why it's immediately assumed that you have to quit your job to pursue commercial.

Yeah!!! The whole thing about full time vs part time is about what you hour's work is worth as a gamedev vs. whatever else you're currently (or potentially, considering the possibility of studying) skilled enough to achieve.

That, and your living standards and costs. So people that live on shitty countries where most people are paid scraps but have access to the international games market will, because of lack of alternative, have gamedev (or any global-access work) be innately more valuable in comparison to other work than it is on a high wage country.

also revenue comes through time and continuously, salaries are immediate, that's good for some and bad for others; i like it because i see it as investing in the future and getting my work to work for me (as opposed to creating product for someone that will work for them indefinitely long after i'm out of the picture)

but anyway, it's a choice you get to make, you make $8/hr as a gamedev but $12/hr flipping burgers part time, you can go full time at a sacrifice of one fifth of your income, which might return later as profits because you're investing more onto what you choose as your career etc.


its complex, it's a different work relationship for everyone, it depends on your skills, needs, learning, health, knowledge, etc. but it's definitely doable, even if small scale and potentially not very rewarding (for the first few years; or for the first lots of years, or for the first decades, or forever)

i know i could be sitting on a LOT of money if i weren't such a perfectionist, was healthier, more responsible and organized, but i have a tendency to always adapt to survive with just enough to get by, which is something i absolutely need to work on.

Or maybe I just blame myself too much for things that are out of my control and even if i did all of these things i'd be mostly the same

existential crisis incominggggg warningggg
If you want to sell whatever you make, go for it. If you make a good game, especially a good RPG, I'll even buy it. I like supporting good honest indie devs. But this door swings both ways - hobbyists shouldn't be badgered about marketing and making a profit if they just want to make games for the sake of it.

And, to be fair, I haven't seen that from anybody on here and for that I'm grateful - it mostly seems to be a "writer" thing.
JosephSeraph
奇跡なゲイパワー♡
7131
yeah the gamedev and rpg maker communities have been quite healthy about this lately!

it used to be really toxic though, gammak had to be exclusively a "labor of love" and that means you were obliged to deposit unpaid, unrewarded hours into projects until you inevitably had no proper condition to work on them (or understandably had no way to really devote to them as your life'd be too taken by work, maintaining relationships and other adult issues that most of us back then -- children to at most freshly grown adults -- had no idea about.)

but yeah!!!!! DO WHATEVA U WANT <3 just do it knowingly and aware of the implications so you dont regret laer
@JosephSeraph
Reminds me of this writer on YouTube named Travis McBee. He posted all these writing advice videos about how much hard work and hours you have to put in to be a successful writer, and then last September posted a video called "I Quit" about how he was totally burnt out and almost quit. It's worth a watch.

But getting back to publishing older RPG Maker stuff, Yume Nikki got an official (as in, supervised by the original creator, according to the steam page) 3D...sequel, maybe? Called Yume Nikki-Dream Diary. Also, in Kikiyama's case, she (or he?) is rather reclusive. That may be a japanese thing, as I have heard that a lot of manga artists are the same way. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
Depending on your criteria and personal standards, it can be a very taxing process to "convert" old RPGMaker games to become fit for commercial publication. You have to be willing to make sacrifices, cut losses, realize your "vision" may never come to full fruition unless you have unlimited time, money, and mental energy.

I'm not against the idea on principle, though. We've had many talented artists and developers in our community over the years, and they deserve to be elevated beyond a freeware content creator if they're willing to put in the effort!

author=JS
it used to be really toxic though, gammak had to be exclusively a "labor of love" and that means you were obliged to deposit unpaid, unrewarded hours into projects until you inevitably had no proper condition to work on them (or understandably had no way to really devote to them as your life'd be too taken by work, maintaining relationships and other adult issues that most of us back then -- children to at most freshly grown adults -- had no idea about.)

This, 100%. For almost a decade, our community similarly labored under the perception that RPGMaker games were more about hobbyist creative vision, insider "praise" and boundless artistic merit rather than the practicality of actually completing a viable finished game. This standard was very pervasive and lead to a lot of developer burnout, IMO.

BadLuck gave me a lot of advice in his experience remastering Ara Fell, and I'm surprised no one's interviewed him about that process much yet - because I think there's a lot to learn from it. (I think LWG could easily convert Villnoire, if he wanted to, for example. XD It's that good!)

In terms of updating old content with new assets, it's not always as easy as it sounds. If you used FF6/Chrono Trigger rips or whatever, you have to stylize your new material to "fit" the map layouts or animations of the past. Often times, to my surprise, it's easier to just remake the content from scratch.



But yeah, depending on the scope of your project, I recommend keeping at least a part-time job to help balance your lifestyle, or potentially fund the costs associated with your game. Everyone dreams of being the next success story to quit their day job and work entirely on game-dev, but that isn't always realistic or healthy. And it's few and far-between. Pixel artists, programmers, and composers tend to make more income than actual game developers (at least up until the release date), so that's likely an inhibition for many people here as well.

But with that being said - if you love your project, go for it! Enjoy it! Not many people are bold enough to undertake stepping out of hobbyist realm, so if you've made the decision, you're already halfway there. It can be daunting while you're actually immersed in the process, but the joy of the experience usually outweighs the bad. Everything is a learning experience.

CrossCode is one of the biggest success stories that comes to mind. If I'm correct, it came from the developers behind Velsabor; one of the most revered RPGMaker 2003 games a decade ago back on GW/Early RMN years.
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