18 votes

I Am the Cheapest Bastard In Indie Games

10 comments

  1. [3]
    cptcobalt
    Link
    I still feel like he's doubling down for entirely the wrong reasons. My comment here last week was not critical of cheapness, but rather for not taking on more artistic challenges: However, this...

    I still feel like he's doubling down for entirely the wrong reasons. My comment here last week was not critical of cheapness, but rather for not taking on more artistic challenges:

    I really, really appreciate that this guy is turning out work that he's proud of. But I think this post isn't a logical justification of poor art direction, it's just him putting together a poorly defended excuse that he's not willing to be creatively challenged in this way.

    However, this followup post makes me realize he's a brilliant marketing troll and I fully respect him for that. He'll get the sales he needs, and he'll continue to make more games. I don't really think it's worth it to comment further on how I (continue to) disagree with his logic. I reluctantly admit that his system works for him.

    3 votes
    1. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      I think he does address your point. How much extra would it cost for him to "tak[e] on more artistic challenges"? Time that he's currently spending doing other things in his two-person business,...

      I think he does address your point. How much extra would it cost for him to "tak[e] on more artistic challenges"? Time that he's currently spending doing other things in his two-person business, certainly. Money, probably. He's open about the fact that he doesn't have skill in or much of an eye for art, so that means hiring an artist or art director at least on a contract basis, and he talks about the cost for that in his article already.

      He's talking about the heartless truth of the economics of the product he's producing based on his experience over his career. I'm open to the idea that creative challenges can be good for a person, but if it won't pay off to have better art is that actually better for him and his business?

      8 votes
    2. mrbig
      Link Parent
      YSK that there are many different ways to challenge yourself artistically, and visual style is just one of them. You can very well challenge yourself in different ways while keeping the visual...

      YSK that there are many different ways to challenge yourself artistically, and visual style is just one of them. You can very well challenge yourself in different ways while keeping the visual style unaltered. That is a valid choice.

      3 votes
  2. rkcr
    Link
    A follow-up to last week's article about crappy looking games:

    A follow-up to last week's article about crappy looking games:

    A week ago, I put up a blog post called "Why All My Games Look Like Crap." It really blew up. A lot of people read it. Some were highly supportive. Others took precious time out of their days to let me know I am a gigantic, gigantic bozo.

    2 votes
  3. [6]
    nothis
    Link
    I’ve read one edition of his word salad, not going for another. Their games are great for what they are, nobody ever even challenged that, why is he so obsessed with defending their look, the one...

    I’ve read one edition of his word salad, not going for another. Their games are great for what they are, nobody ever even challenged that, why is he so obsessed with defending their look, the one thing that’s obviously bad and carelessly done by any reasonable standard?

    2 votes
    1. [5]
      MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      He's not defending the look. He admits that it's ugly and inconsistent. What he is doing is making a solid business case for things being cheap, quick, and ugly, if pretty isn't what draws people...

      He's not defending the look. He admits that it's ugly and inconsistent. What he is doing is making a solid business case for things being cheap, quick, and ugly, if pretty isn't what draws people to your product or service.

      6 votes
      1. [4]
        nothis
        Link Parent
        The issue is that he’s sending, from a position of relative authority, a message that halfway bearable (that’s the standard we’re talking about) art direction is unattainable for an indie dev....

        The issue is that he’s sending, from a position of relative authority, a message that halfway bearable (that’s the standard we’re talking about) art direction is unattainable for an indie dev. Which can’t be true since first time indie releases with hired art often look better, despite budgets way below what he cites. Basically, you can hire someone for 3 months to go through your requirements, identify some consistent color scheme, proportion of details and working transitions and it would look infinitely better. Even just having someone recommend what free/cheap tile sets to use could improve this.

        So what he’s saying is “my games look bad but, YADDAYADDAYADDA it’s not my fault, the cost makes it impossible!”. It clearly is his fault, as he doesn’t care enough, but instead he goes through a giant blog post about how it’s not. The only thing I can buy is that it would take a month or two out of his schedule to sit down and accept it before he could change it. But he doesn’t want to.

        1. [3]
          MimicSquid
          Link Parent
          Nonsense. He's not saying it's unattainable. He points out plenty of pretty games that have consistent art, and also that they're often being sold at prices approaching free. He's saying that, for...

          Nonsense. He's not saying it's unattainable. He points out plenty of pretty games that have consistent art, and also that they're often being sold at prices approaching free. He's saying that, for the product that he's producing, the math with regards to increased art budget vs. increased sales doesn't add up. You can care about something and yet write it off because it won't pay the bills, and I believe him when he says that it wouldn't pay off for him.

          1. [2]
            nothis
            Link Parent
            He’s trying to frame a passion/attitude problem as a math/numbers problem and that’s what’s irritating. Like, he could just say “I don’t care”, or, in a more PR way “it’s simply not a priority for...

            He’s trying to frame a passion/attitude problem as a math/numbers problem and that’s what’s irritating. Like, he could just say “I don’t care”, or, in a more PR way “it’s simply not a priority for me and at this point, I don’t see myself changing it”. But instead he tries goes on about how a couple hundred matching floor tiles cost $100,000 to produce, which is just insane.

            1. MimicSquid
              Link Parent
              First off, you're misquoting the scale of the endeavor by 5x: Secondly: Are you disagreeing with his numbers from a place of experience from the industry? From my perspective as a business owner...

              First off, you're misquoting the scale of the endeavor by 5x:

              The game currently has, to make the different regions look distinct and give enough visual variety, well over 1000 terrain icons.

              Secondly: Are you disagreeing with his numbers from a place of experience from the industry? From my perspective as a business owner the numbers look reasonable regarding time and cost, but I don't hire artists specifically.

              Thirdly: You're really being kind of unpleasant in this line of discussion. Rather than try to engage with or refute his points you're going straight to claiming that he has "a passion/attitude problem" that he could clearly fix if he cared. Unless you have some more substantive critique than thinking that he could do better I'm done with this conversation.