Crowd funding may not be the future but it’s the best solution for small projects

          Crowdfunding is something I’m indifferent to really. I may think it’s stupid to pump more money into projects that certainly will never meet anyone’s expectation at this point (*Cough* Star Citizen *Cough*), but to each their own. Crowdfunding, in my eyes, is really for smaller projects that would certainly never receive the funding otherwise.

          Sadly, the biggest known names in crowdfunding so far are never going to release their products or disappointments. That is the real shame with crowdfunding, as soon as you open yourself up to the public you invite dreamers who probably never released any product into the market before. One game that really did not endear me to the idea was Shenmue 3 which asked for funding from fans… before SONY would provide the rest of the funds.. .on SONY’s stage show about the games the PS4 will have (“Yu Suzuki speaks up on Shenmue 3’s budget, Sony’s support and more”, 2015).

          For comparison I’ll look at two games, Battletech and Star Citizen. Star Citizen is a game being developed by Chris Roberts, who previously made Wing Commander which highly influenced other space based games, since 2012 and raised $102,483,347. What is most worrying about Star Citizen is how Roberts talks about the game, almost never saying “We are finalizing the game and it will be released” but “We want the game to be massive and so are still adding content”. This would not be a problem except that the game has been in production for 5 YEARS and there is still no release date in sight. In other words Roberts is a dreamer who had tried this before but couldn’t do it due to most of the money was corporate and they wanted a released product.

On the other hand we have Battletech, a mechwarrior game, made by Harebrained Schemes LLC. It started on September 2015, raised $3 171 743 08 and, shockingly, will be released late 2017. Unlike in any Chris Robert interview, the Battlemech team all sat down and recorded one video where they said something akin to “We know our fans want to make the game better but we can’t just keep adding content or we’ll never release it” from 6:37 – 7:03 (“STAR CITIZEN: The Hypocalypse – A Rant”, 2015). While the audience for Battletech is a lot smaller and the game did not go mainstream, the fans were happy and the team behind Battletech were realists and not dreamers alone.

 

References:

STAR CITIZEN: The Hypocalypse – A Rant. (2015). YouTube. Retrieved 7 April 2017, from

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

 

Yu Suzuki speaks up on Shenmue 3’s budget, Sony’s support and more. (2015). Polygon. Retrieved 7 April 2017, from

http://www.polygon.com/2015/6/24/8842103/shenmue-3-budget-sony-kickstarter-yu-suzuki

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Play testing Vs Focus testing

          Play testing Vs. focus testing for me is a question of convenience rather than does it produce a better product in the end.

          One pitfall that developers who aren’t experienced enough with play testing face is how they collect data. Most people on their first time around would take the answers at face value without factoring in any other aspects of how the player played their game. To put it simply they are focus testing but gave it a fancy name. What most teams who play test actually neglect to observe how the test subject reacts to what they are shown in the game through things like their movements, sweat and eye movement (“What is play testing and why do devs screw it up?”, 2013). The best way to define play testing is to find any contradiction between how you believe your game should be played and how the player believes it should be played.

          On the other hand, focus testing is a lot easier to do but doesn’t usually create an experience that will be remembered as a classic. It is far simpler to ask people how they feel and move on to make changes rather than observe every aspect of play that a human being is experiencing (“Hollywood Endings”, 2013). This method is often used for the most popular games like Call of Duty, because those games require a massive return and have sold their souls to Satan in return for money already anyway. On the other hand this method can work if the person in charge is highly experienced and even then the process could or actively does harm the end product like with Bioshock: Infinite and The Last of Us (“Cite a Website – Cite This For Me”, 2012 & “The Last of Us focus test had to be made to include women”, 2013)

 

References:

 

Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. (2012). Wired.com. Retrieved 8 April 2017, from

https://www.wired.com/2012/12/bioshock-infinite-box-art/

 

Hollywood Endings. (2013). YouTube. Retrieved 8 April 2017, from

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckb3BxJEkAY

 

The Last of Us focus test had to be made to include women. (2013). Destructoid. Retrieved 8 April 2017, from

https://www.destructoid.com/the-last-of-us-focus-test-had-to-be-made-to-include-women-251127.phtml

 

What is playtesting and why do devs screw it up?. (2013). VG247.com. Retrieved 8 April 2017, from

https://www.vg247.com/2013/07/26/understanding-usability-and-the-focus-test-misconception/