Quality vs. Quantity

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by CharredDirt, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. CharredDirt

    CharredDirt Well-Known Member

    Hey guys,

    I've been noticing a trend lately of Quantity being greater than Quality on the app store with small studios just trying to crank mediocre games out as fast as they can. I visited a small game development studio recently and was kind of surprised to hear that they aim to have all their games finished in 2 months with another 2 for testing and polishing. I mean, sure, you can get a mega jump or angry birds clone done in that time but to really do something worthwhile, it would take more time than that. I think the big differentiator between average app store drivel and stuff that I want to actually buy is quality. Still I see small developers just go for the "Release as many apps as possible and hope that one of them is an Angry Birds success".

    I'm working part time but I still plan to spend a full year in development on my game. Am I a fool for focusing on quality for my first app? I feel like it will pay off in the long run but maybe I'm wrong.

    Thoughts? Opinions?
     
  2. nvx

    nvx Well-Known Member

    Jan 7, 2011
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    I've discussed this topic with a few other devs in the past, the trends are very clear and disheartening

    The mobile app/game market is russian roulette:
    there is no guarantee a high-quality game will hit big, just as there is nothing stopping a low-quality game from becoming amazingly popular

    Many developers feel if they keep churning out low/mediocre quality games quickly then that will improve their chances of striking gold sooner.
    Can't argue with that, statistics 101
    Gameloft seem to be strong believers of this at any rate, seems to be working for them

    But there are also many developers who are willing to gamble on their beliefs and create high-quality games

    Each developer has their own opinions and bias on the subject, but most of the devs here on TA will probably agree with you (myself included):

    better to put in enough love and effort to make higher-quality games, instead of pumping out shovelware and further polluting the market

    Afterall, the more low-quality games there are on the appstore, the more likely that customers expectations will change and things will get worse for everyone in the industry (especially for the small indie devs already struggling)
     
  3. ColeyWoley

    ColeyWoley Active Member

    Jul 3, 2012
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    Artist, Disparity Games
    If you don't aim for quality what's the point?

    __________________

    Disparity Games
    Run Fatty Run
     
  4. Sanuku

    Sanuku Well-Known Member

    Honestly the current Timeframe seem to be more like six Months or even less if it comes to the big Studios. This often leads to Bugs that are so obvious that a few Years ago Reviewer would have literally wrote the hole Review about those and not about the Game itself.

    But since nowadays less and less Reviewer that don`t have more experience then a few Months simply try to make something Bad still look good or even advise to live with it less and less Developer/Publisher will keep actually caring about if a Game is free of Bugs/Glitches/... or if they are still Bugs left that are Plot stopping or not just because they wanted to rush out a Release on Day X.

    I know of at least two Publisher/Developer where the Intern Testing Team clearly gave the advise to postpone the Release Date and the Games were still launched while well knowing what will happen if someone loads the Game up on iDevice X.

    The current behavior is unacceptable but in a time where nobody does have the will to write about it and only drops a Rating when a Publisher stops advertising on some Websites I can understand the reasoning of those that keep it the current Way.
     
  5. Zenout

    Zenout Well-Known Member

    As its your first game then 1 year sounds like a long time. What I've found each cycle (on third) is that I learn lots of new things that I only thought I knew.

    So I too have spent longer than average developing each app, but in hindsight I would have learned the easy way a lot quicker had the other two apps only taken 3 months instead of 6 months each. This one is taking around a year, too. I feel the quality level is relatively right up there - I still worry about getting word around more than anything and sometimes wonder if it was wise taking longer instead of shorter!
     
  6. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
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    Hi guys,
    I'm Catalin nice to meet you! I'm part of a two man team of Appsolute Creations.
    I saw this thread and I had to post my thoughts because of what we have experienced with our game. Granted our graphics are not the best just yet (currently working on an update for that) but the gameplay and everything else is solid. 1 year was spent on the game. People who play it totally love it. I beta tested all over with different age groups of complete strangers and I was sure I had something good. So what happened? Well we fell off the radar in 2 days! We tried sending out emails to reviewers, posted around online, did the facebook thing, and twitter, etc. Seemed like we did everything by the book. So we were excited to launch. Launch day came and went and no one payed attention. We had ONE review published while people who were downloading were actually leaving 5 star reviews in the store.

    So where are we now? We fell off the map completely. The main reason so many crap apps are released is exactly this. And it is followed by the fact that apple took away the way updates once worked where they would push you back to the new release top. So now not only is it hit or miss as you develop, but once you do, you have NO WAY of getting noticed again after those first 2 days. We didn't get any replies about reveiws from any site. So the point becomes, why spend so much time as a small developer on something that won't be even SEEN. The big boys took over the store. The little guys are playing the lottery. And instead of updating to improve on ONE app, it makes more sense to churn out a few crap ones instead in order to say ....hey look I'm here! Look at me! In a sea of millions of dollars of advertising pushed by the big names. How can a little guy ever compete with an app like where's my water, that isn't even a good game, but has actual commercials on the disney channel!? Just an example. But I think you get the point.

    I'm not trying to bitch too much lol, but the current app store set up no longer favors the little guys. Sure it allows you to put your game up and that's great. But let's be serious no one is going to flip past 25 pages of the top big name apps to find yours.

    I don't know maybe we did something wrong....it's all a learning experience. But this is just what I have seen so far. Hopefully our next project has a different outcome. But then again we all think we will win the lottery eventually if we keep playing right? lol

    Thanks for listening!
     
  7. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
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    So well said buddy!
     
  8. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    You did everything wrong.

    I went to check out your app but you don't even have a link in your sig. People are not telepathic - you didn't get noticed because you've clearly done absolutely nothing to get noticed.

    Can't do marketing yourself? Hire a PR firm. Marketing is not optional.

    Can't compete with where's my water? Downer, neither can we. But neither of us need to, do we.

    Here's a fortune cookie: If you make quality, it's not guaranteed to fly. If you make crap it is guaranteed to fail. Pointing out exceptions to either statement does not serve a useful purpose, as trying to be an exception is also a road to failure.
     
  9. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
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    First let me say to you. Awesome game! Nice job on thAt!
    You're right about putting the link in the signature. I'll do that. But that's hardly correct to say I did nothing just because of that lol. I sent out tons of emails that were never replied back to. I even bought some ads! I posted on forums and had Only a few replies. Facebook ads. Fb page. Hmmm let's see what else.....oh yea had a hot girl who runs a website with huge traffic shoot with a balloon loons tshirt :).

    So maybe I should ask you. Where did you start? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  10. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    Well, clearly I assumed you'd done nothing because putting a link in all your online forum sigs is a day #1 job. :)

    We're shite at marketing so hired a PR firm tbh. No wisdom here. The amount of release day reviews we got from that easily covered their fees.

    However, this is what you should take the time to watch (it's an hour long). Watching this presentation is far more important than anything else you could possibly do in your indie career, including starting the next game.

    http://vimeo.com/28846726
     
  11. CharredDirt

    CharredDirt Well-Known Member

    Rubicon, thanks for the link. I'm going to watch this on my lunch break.

    This actually isn't my first game, just first mobile game. The original Charred Dirt was a free tank game we made for PC. Took us 3-4 years to make it but on a very casual part time schedule. I'm working a lot faster on the new game but still doing it part time. If I did it full time, I think I'd have it done in roughly 4 months.

    I just think that a 2 month (working full time) project is going to be fun on the surface but wont have that deep level of gameplay that most dedicated gamers crave.

    I can't speak too much about marketing, it scares me but I don't know how much cash I'll have to get a PR firm. I started my FB and twitter campaigns early which seem to be paying off.
     
  12. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
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    Oh cool. Thanks rubicon. Hey. What pr firm did you use if you don't mind me asking. I get a whole lot of emails from people offering such services but I don't know if it's a scam. So if you had a good experience with someone would you mind sharing who? Thanks so much.
     
  13. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    It was them, and certainly no complaints here.
     
  14. NickFalk

    NickFalk Well-Known Member

    Fairly obvious, but not often (enough) spelled out so clearly.

    As for the original post, I don't necessarily think short development time means developers are sacrificing quality on the alter of quantity. It might however mean that they scale down the scope of their games. I think this makes sense, particularly if you consider the average price and competitiveness of the AppStore.
     
  15. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
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    Yup exactly. Plus I think people are realizing more and more that iphone games are not popular because of depth. Simplicity is key and also you have to preserve the game snack idea. So forget making an indepth storyline or adding all kinds of crazy characters. Stick with basic, get it done, and get it out. Look at tiny wings LOL No story, no depth, yet it's making millions. Go figure :) Good for him! Remember iphone gamers are casual and chances are they will download and play a game for like a week and be on to the next. I mean honestly how long can you play tiny wings for?
     
  16. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    My biased response would be to avoid that like the plague.

    Our game series is ludicrously fat on content for the $2.99 price and this fatness is at least partially responsible for the games (mild) success. Possibly largely responsible.

    We have a couple of small games out there (a yahtzee game and a match-3) that have been reviewed well - they're not percieved as crap. However they make no money because there's nothing special about them to get people talking. There's a million other match-3 and yahtzee games.

    There is a niche for bigger games and they can make money, but casting your net into the "snack gaming" audience more or less guarantees obscurity imo - that's where almost all games sit and there's already thousands of very good ones.
     
  17. jasondask

    jasondask New Member

    Aug 11, 2012
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    Some great discussion in this thread and something I have too been thinking about as our website looks towards launching it's first mobile app (traditionally we've been focused in the flash space)

    I personally think less is more, however it is very much based on circumstance and need. A developer might have the best game ever and invest 2-3 years in development only for it not to really take off on the app store, which can be a significant financial burden.

    For a textbook example, a company like Half-brick studios; the less is more approach works well in their favour as their titles are virtually guaranteed to be top 5 hits on the back of reputation and the quality built into their previous successful titles.

    However for smaller developers that don't have reputation or solid publisher agreement/support, I can definitely see why the more attractive option would be smaller, but more frequent projects.
     
  18. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
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    See I'm going to disagree there a bit. What your game has going is the graphics. It looks fun and interesting before you ever even play it. That's where your game's strength is. No one buys an iPhone game for depth. It's like a friend of mine said. If I want depth I'll play Xbox. If I want to play a game while I'm taking a shit I'll play with my iPhone. I'm sure out there you'll find a handful of hardcore iPhone gamers out there but they are by no means the majority. You have to cater to your audience. You're obviously not going to create diablo 3 for an iPhone because of space, pricing, and competition. And if you do create it it's going to be watered down with a hose lol. Just my opinion as a gamer.
     
  19. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
    1,538
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    Don't forget the iPad (and Android and MS equivalents).

    We admittedly do much better on that device, but it's not to be underestimated. A lot of pad owners play on their sofa, not the subway.
     
  20. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
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    Yup sure this is true. But this says nothing to the games depth or length. People tend to download 3d games more for iPads simply because of the look. But no gamer will choose the iPad over their Xbox. Think about how uncomfortable an iPad is to hold for more than 30 minutes at most. Again I stick with the point that these platforms remain time killers and not the go to item for a real gamer. The only way that would ever happen is when they start to ship with Bluetooth controllers and dramatically increase storage and change the way games are downloaded. (no 50 mb limit). Until then these devices remain time killers. Not to say of course a programmer isn't welcomed to put as much content as they want in the app. You did and good for you. My point is you may have had the same results from doing less but keeping the look of them game. I remain certain that your graphics are what sold the game. I too feel like we put some decent amount of content in our game and made it fun but at the end of the day the graphics are not on the level of your graphics and it flopped. I can almost bet my life that if my game was rendered in 3d it would have been a huge success.
     

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