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Playing other Kickstarter funded games makes me nervous


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I might be alone on this but Shadow Run: Returns biggest downfall was the lack of romancing Cherry Bomb haha.

 

In all seriousness though, as a Game Design student I have new insight on the day to day tasks and problems that game development has. That said Obsidian has seemed to have very few according to the updates I have read. So they might be squishing the problems as fast as they rise. At any rate I don't have too many worries about the game itself. My primary hope for it now though is to have a nice meaty Campaign. Perhaps 40 - 50 hours before the mega dungeon? Might be asking a bit too much but SRR kind of side swiped me with the sudden end of the main campaign. I still enjoyed it though.

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^ Josh has, on multiple occasions, expressed his far-above-average emphasis on pre-production planning and logistics, before actual production of game systems and components takes place. I have a feeling that, however much time Josh and Co. have spent on this for PoE, it was far more than any of the other Kickstarter titles spent. Thus, it seems to have had, and will continue to have, relatively fewer snags.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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^ Josh has, on multiple occasions, expressed his far-above-average emphasis on pre-production planning and logistics, before actual production of game systems and components takes place. I have a feeling that, however much time Josh and Co. have spent on this for PoE, it was far more than any of the other Kickstarter titles spent. Thus, it seems to have had, and will continue to have, relatively fewer snags.

 

I don't know wheter you could say they spent more time than any other developer. What's reassuring about this team is their huge experience with these sort of games. I also think that a decent company like Obsidian would like to see any game with their name on being a decent experience for their customers. I do agree with your point on the pre-production phase. 

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You know what I like about Kickstarter?
 
The same thing that makes Brian Fargo feel a lot of pressure while also enjoying it a lot, as he expressed it in a number of interviews. The fact that there is no publisher and/or outside funding (in most cases, there are some exceptions like Star Citizen). Whatever the end result is, it's all on the developer.
 
In the aftermath of the KS avalanche, there were a lot of articles discussing the pitfalls of the new business model. In has been mentioned by several different people that established development studios -- or new studios founded by industry veterans - are accustomed to asking for more money from the publisher if the development drags on and funds start to run low. If there were additional features requested by the publisher (that's very typical), then there is a good reason present as well.
 
But with crowdfunding, asking for additional money is very, very problematic. Obsidian, wanting to have a longer game, carefully polled people's opinions, and so far, they did not move forward with the additional stretch goals ("still being discussed internally" was the last response we got). So, in the end, if you want to make a finished and well-made product with crowdfunding money, you have to be "more lean and mean" to get where you want to go, as Eternity's Senior Producer Brandon Adler put it in an RPS feature.
 

“The funny thing is, you would think that with all the constraints with the Kickstarter, it would cause a lot of issues and problems,” Adler grins. “But it’s almost the opposite, to some extent. Because we have certain constraints, budgetary concerns and whatnot, we’re actually more lean and mean and efficient in what we do. We end up getting a lot more done, I think, because we’re taking special care every single time we do something. Does this fit in the game? What’s the best way to do this?”
“Let’s make sure we get it right the first time.”

 

This is the result for Obsidian, and I'm happy that they seem to be a very competent team. For other, especially novice teams, the end result is often a catastrophe: the game is unfinished/not what was promised, the money is gone, and there is no publisher to blame/beg to for additional funds.

 

I have a lot more respect for a developer who, in case of a failure, places the blame where it belongs in a fair manner, instead of banking on the general hatred against "the evil gigacorps", "suits" and "the Man" to get rid of all responsibility in the eye of the public.

 

(Here's an Eurogame article on the history of CD Projekt Red, Seeing Red. Scroll down a lot to read about the blunders with White Wolf, the console port of the Witcher. Marcin Iwiński, my hat's off to you.)

 

TL;DR

I like that Kickstarter/crowdfunding makes development more transparent and removes the publisher from the picture, so we can see that not everything can be blamed on the Evil Publishing Megacorps. I understand that often that is the case, I know some of those stories, but still, people make mistakes, and people includes developers.

Edited by Endrosz
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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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I've only funded one project via Kickstarter, I heard about Project Eternity after following Trent Oster (Beamdog dev - followed due to work on BG:EE)  via Twitter, I was sold pretty much completely and utterly after watching their video and reading over what was proposed, seeing as I already have immense respect for OE this just felt like a team working on a fantasy that they had been wanting to do for ages and one that I had been waiting for since the end of the BG series.

 

Afterwards I did check some of the other proposed game projects via KS and I found it was as has been said here in this thread already, that the ideas proposed for new games were by people with less experience in the given genre of the game or just had not been making games of a high calibre for long enough that would give what they were proposing any real credence (in terms of what I expected to get out of it) and alleviate any fears I would have going into backing said projects.

 

Speaking of fears, just wanted to say that I have no doubt in my mind (just watching over again some of the vids that Sawyer has put out via the updates) that OE are completely capable of delivering on a product worthy of being titled "the spiritual successor" to the IE games (specifically Baldur's Gate - unlike the Dragon Age series but forth by Bioware *facepalm*).

 

Oh and thank you Endrosz for providing the link regarding CD Project Red! Another company I have deep respect for in the gaming industry, it was a fantastic read! :-)

 

Silver

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My initial reaction to the project was "how are they going to make this on so little money?" Even when they made almost four times their original goal, my concern remained the same. But you know what? I backed it. I backed it because I wanted the old-school-style RPGs to have a change, and because I wanted to see what Obsidian could do without publisher intervention. I wanted that enough to outweigh my reservations. If it turns out they didn't have the money to make the game they set out to make, that'll be sad, but it was my gamble to make. I knew the odds going in, and I believe that the potential payoff was worth the risk. Seeing the project unfold has done nothing to curb my enthusiasm, and has done much to assuage my concerns. But even if it flops, I am convinced that I made the right decision, because the payoff was worth the risk.

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First, I'm not worried at all. The IE games did not cost much more than 4-5 million to make. Second, For once we're looking at a nice long development time. When it's all said and done, Obsidian will have had 2 years to develop this game. Third, and I think most important: Experience. I don't think it's all that fair to compare Obsidian with the guys who made Shadowrun Returns or Broken Age. Obsidian is far, far more seasoned at this kind of stuff than those guys are.

 

As for the Kickstarter track record fear that we're gonna get a small game that feels like the devs had big dreams and not enough funding to implement them.... Well, I would *hope* that IF they sensed that they needed more money that they'd swallow their "pride" or "professionalism" or whatever and just Publically Request It. I don't know about anyone else, but for me, if Feargus came here and said: "hey guys, I know we've already asked a lot from you, but I'm looking at the game and I feel that another $500,000 - $1,000,000 would really make a huge difference in its vastness, reactivity and overall size and feel", I would grab my wallet, my friends, and donate all over again.

Edited by Stun
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But... wages aren't like back then... there are more technical thingathingies needed to make the game 'current-gen' looking (which again takes more time and manpower).

And I think Double Fine has oodles of experience, they've been around a long time. As company, longer than Obsidian. And the adventure-legends worked at LucasArts on legendary games there, before Black Isle. I can't really say lack of experience was at hand with Broken Age. Don't know about SR, but BA... definitely not.

 

We might... but we're just a part of the 75.000 backers. You've seen some of the comments about just getting a publisher for boxed versions. I've seen many KS comments about the same, or delays, or "betrayals"...

No, we might, but if they do the same, the majority of backers will probably respond very, very differently.

 

For all the 'we can now make quality games without publishers' many backers are even worse than any publisher. I suppose for many we can count that to ignorance, but not all... not all.

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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The IE games did not cost much more than 4-5 million to make.

 

You are forgetting that IE games were made approximately 15 years ago, or so. DAMN, TIME FLIES :unsure: The value of 4 mil $ then was higher than the value of present time 4 mil $ now, due to inflation. Nevertheless I am sure that Obsidian will pull it off. They have the experience, the staff, and will to do it... and if they don't, no-one else will.

 

Ricka-racka, firecracker, sis-boom-bah!

Obsidian, Obsidian, rah! rah! rah!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOuDjdN2csw

It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

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You are forgetting that IE games were made approximately 15 years ago, or so. DAMN, TIME FLIES :unsure: The value of 4 mil $ then was higher than the value of present time 4 mil $ now, due to inflation. Nevertheless I am sure that Obsidian will pull it off. They have the experience, the staff, and will to do it... and if they don't, no-one else will.

 

Ricka-racka, firecracker, sis-boom-bah!

Obsidian, Obsidian, rah! rah! rah!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOuDjdN2csw

 

 

Don't forget that the IE games were made approximately 15 years ago, or so. Technology is much cheaper now, as is distribution, plus they already have experience making these kind of games, and they also don't need to pay royalties to Wizard of the Coast.

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Technology is much cheaper now

No.

as is distribution

This is true, due to DD compared to physical release.

plus they already have experience making these kind of games

15 years ago. Not to mention, this never been much of a moneysavior in the past, budgets get bigger and bigger.

and they also don't need to pay royalties to Wizard of the Coast.

Though they do have to UNITY, Kickstarter and who knows what other tech used in the game.
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^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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No.

 

 

Yes. Especially considering they are not pushing the envelope with the tech in this game. Plus the software does much more these days.

 

 

 

15 years ago. Not to mention, this never been much of a moneysavior in the past, budgets get bigger and bigger.

 

You are thinking about regular games, where developers push the tech and graphics used in the games. This is a blast from the past game and there is not much they can do with isometric that would cost that much money.

 

 

Though they do have to UNITY, Kickstarter and who knows what other tech used in the game.

 

Other then whatever KS took as their cut, all of the other things are a drop in the sea compared to the D&D royalties they likely had to pay to WotC.

Edited by Sarex
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The plot thickens!

 

You are thinking about regular games, where developers push the tech and graphics used in the games. This is a blast from the past game and there is not much they can do with isometric that would cost that much money.

 

Based upon Update #49 we know that dynamism in Project Eternity includes trees and grass that sway, water that can be raised or lowered, and a day/night cycle as well as dynamic lighting of scenes in real-time. Josh Sawyer said back then: "In a 2D game, this required our programmers and artists to come up with some creative solutions. What they came up with surprised us initially and it continues to amaze us. While we are still working on refining some of the dynamic elements, we're very happy with the progress we've been able to make and hope you feel the same way."

It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

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Still yes.

Areas and bigger, more detailed, higher res. All in all, more compiling time and resources. Not to factor in modern stuff like real-time lightning, weather effects, layers of maps, and 3D characters.

They are definitely pushing tech with this game. Especially out of an engine like Unity, which seems unfitting for all the stuff they do to it. The software which does 'much more' is also much more expensive.

 

 

 

This is a blast from the past game and there is not much they can do with isometric that would cost that much money.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Personally I wont mind if they tone down, but a LOT of people really expect "current-gen" (ugh) isometric looks.

It looks fantastic, true, but that look has it's pricetag.

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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Still yes.

Areas and bigger, more detailed, higher res. All in all, more compiling time and resources. Not to factor in modern stuff like real-time lightning, weather effects, layers of maps, and 3D characters.

They are definitely pushing tech with this game. Especially out of an engine like Unity, which seems unfitting for all the stuff they do to it. The software which does 'much more' is also much more expensive.

 

 

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Personally I wont mind if they tone down, but a LOT of people really expect "current-gen" (ugh) isometric looks.

It looks fantastic, true, but that look has it's pricetag.

 

Area being bigger and higher resolution is due to more processing power, I don't get how you think that is more expensive. I really don't get where you are going with this? I do lightning on my own computer, when I make a video of an animation, for free. Weather, 3d characters and whatever else they will animate isn't that complex and while yes it takes time I think it's harder for them to do the 2d backgrounds and polish them for the final product. Maybe they are pushing the tech with the integration of 2d and 3d, but even then I seriously doubt it cost them that much money to figure it out. How is Unity unfitting and why would they pick it if it was? Yes the Autodesk software they use costs 10k a year(likely more as they need a company license), but that are the tools of the trade which they use for more then PoE.

 

I really have no idea where you heard that this game is going to be current-gen and how you think that correlates with the isometric look.... You do know that the 2d is only a picture when they are done with it and put it in the game as an art asset. Opening a picture, you would agree, is not that power consuming. The only things that are going to tax the system are the animations, lighting and maybe the AI.

 

I really have no idea, where you got all this from.

 

The plot thickens!

Based upon Update #49 we know that dynamism in Project Eternity includes trees and grass that sway, water that can be raised or lowered, and a day/night cycle as well as dynamic lighting of scenes in real-time. Josh Sawyer said back then: "In a 2D game, this required our programmers and artists to come up with some creative solutions. What they came up with surprised us initially and it continues to amaze us. While we are still working on refining some of the dynamic elements, we're very happy with the progress we've been able to make and hope you feel the same way."

 

Yeah I agree, they are doing some cool stuff, but all the same I still don't think it adds to this being a game that requires a big (bigger) budget (as if over 4 mill is chump change). The only thing, I think, that can really drive the price tag up is the scope of the game, ie. more areas, bigger maps, etc.

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You read the journals... about how they generate maps?

That should explain "compiling"...

 

You're doing real-time lightning with actual time progression upon that, taking into account source of lightning, obstructions, etc.?

Somehow, I somewhat doubt that...

 

"Weather, 3d characters and whatever else they will animate isn't that complex"

Eeeeh, well, I will pass along to the OE staff they're wasting their time with simpleton stuff. Maybe we should just throw 5 interns on it (actual The Old Republic forum suggesting for porting stuff over to another engine on a game, I kid you not).

 

 

 

but even then I seriously doubt it cost them that much money to figure it out.

It's the 'new' "They should implent that, IT SHOULD BE EASY TO DO"... :/

 

Also, hint on company licensing, they need it *per* PC that has the software on it. That adds up. Just a little other hint to show how way off your economic projections here are.

 

But really, it seems in the end all you talk about is power for the *end user*, which explains a lot. I'm talking on the side of Obsidian. Apples and oranges.

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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You read the journals... about how they generate maps?

That should explain "compiling"...

 

You're doing real-time lightning with actual time progression upon that, taking into account source of lightning, obstructions, etc.?

Somehow, I somewhat doubt that...

 

"Weather, 3d characters and whatever else they will animate isn't that complex"

Eeeeh, well, I will pass along to the OE staff they're wasting their time with simpleton stuff. Maybe we should just throw 5 interns on it (actual The Old Republic forum suggesting for porting stuff over to another engine on a game, I kid you not).

 

 

It's the 'new' "They should implent that, IT SHOULD BE EASY TO DO"... :/

 

Also, hint on company licensing, they need it *per* PC that has the software on it. That adds up. Just a little other hint to show how way off your economic projections here are.

 

But really, it seems in the end all you talk about is power for the *end user*, which explains a lot. I'm talking on the side of Obsidian. Apples and oranges.

 

What other lighting is there? While I may not animate for games, I do it for models of building/houses. The only difference is that while they use use autodesk's softimage I use autocad then transfer to 3dsmax, lighting is pretty much the same in both. Basically you set the source hit render and the program calculates obstacles and reflections. Now that I think about it lighting is probably done in engine, but from a few google searches I can see that it's pretty much the same, set source and type and you are done.

 

Well nothing is simple to those who don't know how to do it(me included). But compare the amount of animation that you need in PoE and the amount you need in GTA5, then yeah it's simple.

 

They aren't really doing anything new. They are only adding to the old.

 

That is why I said company license, which as far as I know isn't per PC. Even if it was, those are essential tools that they had even before PoE.

 

You said "next gen", that means making a game which has new tech which will utilize newest hardware. I think everyone knows that PoE won't be that. As I said I have no idea were you got it that PoE is going to be pushing the envelope for game tech.

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That's... not how real-time lightning is done. Most obviously, there's the real-time thing. No one "calculation, done"... but "calculation, calculation, calculation, calculation"... probably much more effective than that (since recalculating everything constantly is a major resource hog), since *it doesn't work the same way.*

It's like taking a picture of a sunset, and saying 'done'... that's not the same as making an actual sunset behave properly inside a game engine during night-time transition.

From what you're talking I think you mean a LIGHTMAP... not real-time lightning. Again; Not the same.

 

May not be so. A lot in GTA V and modern games is done with PhysX. They might do the same here... but overall, you still need somewhat a same sample of animations (walking, running, hit animations, miss animations, spell animations, etc. etc.) In this system you can't let physics and a ragdoll work out your work for you.

 

Unreal Engine 4 isn't doing anything new. It's only adding to UE3. Why does it take years then? Aren't they only adding to the old anyway?

Not even taking into account that UNITY and INFINITY are so wildly different, they might as well are re-inventing the wheel. They're all remaking it from scratch, not just adding more fluff to the old engine...

 

Then, as far as you know, you're wrong. That's not how professional commercial licensing works.

"They had to have it"... again, what? You *must* know licensing has to be paid annually. That's 2 year of licenses for PoE.

Which would thus be part of the cost of Project Eternity as a whole.

 

That's... not what next-gen is. I know most people prefer to think it that way, and blur the lines even more when saying it's the next console generation graphics (which look like current PC-graphics...), but it really means *just* that... next generation. And with the toolbox of additions they are doing to isometric games, they definitely deserve said title.

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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That's... not how real-time lightning is done. Most obviously, there's the real-time thing. No one "calculation, done"... but "calculation, calculation, calculation, calculation"... probably much more effective than that (since recalculating everything constantly is a major resource hog), since *it doesn't work the same way.*

It's like taking a picture of a sunset, and saying 'done'... that's not the same as making an actual sunset behave properly inside a game engine during night-time transition.

From what you're talking I think you mean a LIGHTMAP... not real-time lightning. Again; Not the same.

 

May not be so. A lot in GTA V and modern games is done with PhysX. They might do the same here... but overall, you still need somewhat a same sample of animations (walking, running, hit animations, miss animations, spell animations, etc. etc.) In this system you can't let physics and a ragdoll work out your work for you.

 

Unreal Engine 4 isn't doing anything new. It's only adding to UE3. Why does it take years then? Aren't they only adding to the old anyway?

Not even taking into account that UNITY and INFINITY are so wildly different, they might as well are re-inventing the wheel. They're all remaking it from scratch, not just adding more fluff to the old engine...

 

Then, as far as you know, you're wrong. That's not how professional commercial licensing works.

"They had to have it"... again, what? You *must* know licensing has to be paid annually. That's 2 year of licenses for PoE.

Which would thus be part of the cost of Project Eternity as a whole.

 

That's... not what next-gen is. I know most people prefer to think it that way, and blur the lines even more when saying it's the next console generation graphics (which look like current PC-graphics...), but it really means *just* that... next generation. And with the toolbox of additions they are doing to isometric games, they definitely deserve said title.

 

Ok, so it's done in real time, but setting it up is the same. You select the source, type and if it's not static, axis movement, the engine does the rest. You are making it out to more complex then it really is.

 

I was really talking about the amount of animation. PoE is on the low spectrum of quantity of animation in games.

 

Yes but Obsidian didn't make Unity, that is the difference. They are using a made engine which comes with it's own support I would guess. They aren't inventing anything new. So if we were going to compare it I would say that it's even easier then it was in Infinity Engine.

 

Did I not say that it was annual. I just did a little digging, depending on how many animators they have, they are probably using a network license. Meaning they can install infinite amount of copies in the network and depending on how many seats they bought they can use X (number of) computers at the same time. So it's not really just number of computers x annual price = cost. And considering their budget is over 4 million the software is not that large a part of it.

 

The term next-gen is a marketing gimmick. What you are talking about is not called next gen, it's simply advancement in technology, it happens in increments. You can't go and say "well this and this feature in game development is last generation". While it may be "next gen" to the old IE games, it is not "next gen" to the current games that are out there. I don't understand why you are so adamant about this, those "next gen" tools you are harping on about are going to be such a small part of the game and they are there just to add some flavor to the Isometric style.

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Sarex I also heard that in Unity you type "NEW GAME" hit generate and voila a game is created. So I dont know either what OE is diing with all that money and time.

 

Where did I say it was easy to create a game?  I only said that it's easier that it was 15 years ago on the infinity engine.

 

Also about "next generation" relax guys. OE did confirm the platforms and none of them is next gen.

 

Platforms? I thought it was just PC.

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It was rhetorical figure called reductio ad absurdum. Neither creating a game nor creating lighting effects are "push magic button" kind of easy. There was an update about lightning and shadows I think. And it didn't look easy.

 

Easy=/=easier

 

Well at least 3 according to Wiki: Windows PC, Macintosh OS X, and Linux

 

Those are all PC and then I don't understand what you meant by none of them is next gen.

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I'm hardly a tech-e, so I'm not particularly following this discussion you three are having. But I did find something that might help:

 

and they also don't need to pay royalties to Wizard of the Coast.

Though they do have to UNITY,

 

Unity is actually dirt-cheap as far as game engine licensing is concerned, and I've found nothing suggesting that Royalties are part of the Terms of use.

 

Check this out:

 

https://store.unity3d.com/

 

The full version, of the Latest Unity (Unity pro 4) is only $1500 or $75/month per 2 seats. And a Team license add-on (which I assume Obsidian is using?) is +$500 or +$20/Month per 2 seats

 

So....$2000 for 2 computers? The team working on PoE is not that big, so we're looking at, what? about $20,000 max? Is that even worth mentioning for a game that has $4 million+ in funding to work with?

Edited by Stun
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Well at least 3 according to Wiki: Windows PC, Macintosh OS X, and Linux

 

Those are all PC and then I don't understand what you meant by none of them is next gen.

 

 

Sarex is right, platforms are such things as PC, xBox, PlayStation etc.

It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

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Unity is actually dirt-cheap as far as game engine licensing is concerned, and I've found nothing suggesting that Royalties are part of the Terms of use.

 

Check this out:

 

https://store.unity3d.com/

 

The full version, of the Latest Unity (Unity pro 4) is only $1500 or $75/month per 2 seats. And a Team license add-on (which I assume Obsidian is using?) is +$500 or +$20/Month per 2 seats

 

So....$2000 for 2 computers? The team working on PoE is not that big, so we're looking at, what? about $20,000 max? Is that even worth mentioning for a game that has $4 million+ in funding to work with?

 

That is what I have been trying to tell him, the software is not that expensive when you consider the budget. Also this is purely hypothetical, but aren't those animators and programers working on more then one game? In that case the cost of software splits even more.

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