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65Gamerguy

Homebrew Games and Limited Quantity

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Let me start off by saying I greatly respect the work that everyone has done making homebrew games for the ColecoVision. I love it, and I love everyones dedication to my favorite 80's console. I have done what I can to promote every game on my youtube channel and I will continue to do so in any way I can. I honestly wish I had the money to buy every game everyone creates but I have to be financially sound in my decisions to purchase games which leads to my question.

 

There are many games that I have missed out on that I would really like to purchase, but they are no longer avalable. It seems to me that most games sell out in a short amount of time due to limited quantity. Granted no one knows if the games will sell out, but it seems most do. Is the demand increasing for homebrew games? And if so, is it possible to maybe increase the total numbers of games produced?

 

I am a big fan of everyones work and I will do anything I can to support all of you in any way I can.

 

I don't know all the answers, so I am just asking.

 

Kendal

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Let me start off by saying I greatly respect the work that everyone has done making homebrew games for the ColecoVision. I love it, and I love everyones dedication to my favorite 80's console. I have done what I can to promote every game on my youtube channel and I will continue to do so in any way I can. I honestly wish I had the money to buy every game everyone creates but I have to be financially sound in my decisions to purchase games which leads to my question.

 

There are many games that I have missed out on that I would really like to purchase, but they are no longer avalable. It seems to me that most games sell out in a short amount of time due to limited quantity. Granted no one knows if the games will sell out, but it seems most do. Is the demand increasing for homebrew games? And if so, is it possible to maybe increase the total numbers of games produced?

 

I am a big fan of everyones work and I will do anything I can to support all of you in any way I can.

 

I don't know all the answers, so I am just asking.

 

Kendal

 

I TRY to buy everything that is released ... but lately that is not possible (some items are 'not worth the $$ - when $ is tight' - IMO). It's either I can't afford a game at the moment or IF I don't check online daily I miss out on an item :-( I know S--- happens.

 

I DO appreciate those publishing games and programming them... but I have to admit this reminds me a lot of the 83-4 time frame... a lot of stuff coming out and can everyone buy the stuff (I have nightmares of Collectorvision/Team Pixelboy and Opcode games burying dozens of unpurchased carts in landfills! :) )

 

It seems to me that everything that comes down the road is published regardless of the quality/interest for the game.

 

 

If this is 'harsh' - sorry - just my opinion.

 

Jeff

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where to begin....

 

The thing is, it's hard to guess how many copies you would sold

 

Let me explain a quick example...

 

With Side Trak, we knew for sure we would be able to sold about 100 copies without a problem

The game was anticipated since the launch of the ColecoVision afterall

And many fans are after unreleased games

 

With a game like, Armageddon, it was a tough guess

We knew people do enjoy Missile Command but that's it

Strangely, we expected to sell alot more than what we did

But, again. It was a though guess

 

Basically, it's really though to guess how many copies we would sell

We don't want to ended up with endless copies in stock,.... We would loss alot of money actually...

And we also hate to get sold-out quckly so there is people missing the release

We are not a company, we simply can't loosing money, otherwise we would have to ran out of "buisness"

 

Get another batch made?

 

Yep, but we would still have to make a reservation list and when we hit a comfortable number, then we can get a new batch done

 

 

I think the best is exactly what I'm doing with Pong/Computer Space Boxset

You have plenty of time to get your name on the list so you're sure to not miss out the release

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The general rule is that a high-profile game (arcade port, etc.) will sell very well, because buyers know what they're buying, and the hype tends to build up all by itself towards the release date.

 

Original creations (or ports of little-known games) don't sell quite as well, mostly because buyers keep their money for the "good stuff" (i.e. the aforementioned high-profile games) and like it or not, homebrew developers/publishers are competing for the hard-earned dollars from the same wallets.

 

A lot of homebrew ColecoVision games have been coming out these past few years (yours truly has his part of responsability in this ;) ) and most of the time, these new releases are not cheap. The quality is definately there, and I believe this has helped the ColecoVision community grow by attracting new members.

 

I believe the mistake that some homebrewers are consistently making is underestimating the demand. There is this persistent perception that this community is a small niche market, but it's not as small as these people think. Homebrewers should define long-term plans to produce more copies of their games just in case the demand warrants the effort. Then the homebrewers can be fully rewarded for their development efforts, and we would see less of these crazy eBay auctions for "rare" homebrew games, were sellers make a ton of money without having any direct link to the original homebrew authors/publishers. That's the strategy I have followed with my own Team Pixelboy releases, and it has worked out pretty well for me.

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I guess my intent was to ask if there as been an increase of demand of homebrew games in general. I realize that not all games will be a hot seller, but just a question of if you developers have seen an increase in demand.

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I guess my intent was to ask if there as been an increase of demand of homebrew games in general. I realize that not all games will be a hot seller, but just a question of if you developers have seen an increase in demand.

I guess it all depend of the title

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I guess my intent was to ask if there as been an increase of demand of homebrew games in general. I realize that not all games will be a hot seller, but just a question of if you developers have seen an increase in demand.

I've noticed an increase in demand, but it's mostly linked to the Super Game Module. The SGM has had a sort of crystalization effect on the community: Lots of people want a SGM, and they want the games that make use of it. So with 200+ SGMs sold on the first run alone, that means 200 buyers for SGM games, although the games actually bought vary greatly from one buyer to the next.

 

If you remove the SGM from the equation, I'd say there hasn't been that much of an increase these last few years. As retroillucid has said, it depends on the game. In my case, I can say Princess Quest and Quest for the Golden Chalice have been excellent sellers, with well over 100 copies sold in each case. :)

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I think keeping the option open for a re-release is key.

 

Good idea. I also think having them available as ROM image files for those who have/use the Ultimate SD would be a great idea. Maybe $20 or so per ROM image/game.....available via purchasing an online "key" to download that ROM? That way, the publishers/developers could make more money after the carts are sold, and those who miss out or don't have the money for the expensive cartridges could still buy and enjoy the games. Win/win ;)

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I think keeping the option open for a re-release is key.

We can't always do that though

Take Ghost n Zombies as an example

 

We would make another batch cause we know there's demand

Problem is the programmer refuse to have another batch made

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I believe the mistake that some homebrewers are consistently making is underestimating the demand. There is this persistent perception that this community is a small niche market, but it's not as small as these people think. Homebrewers should define long-term plans to produce more copies of their games just in case the demand warrants the effort. Then the homebrewers can be fully rewarded for their development efforts, and we would see less of these crazy eBay auctions for "rare" homebrew games, were sellers make a ton of money without having any direct link to the original homebrew authors/publishers. That's the strategy I have followed with my own Team Pixelboy releases, and it has worked out pretty well for me.

 

I agree and I hope that means there is a bigger market more than initially expected but in the long term. People that find out about the game after it's initial release, maybe weeks, months, or years later. No one can predict when or if that will happen though so it is a gamble.

If it was up to me I would hope you all sell several thousand copies of every game! I don't think most people know the quality of the homebrew games that are made today, which is a shame. And if I can be of any help I will show the world your great creations!

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We can't always do that though

Take Ghost n Zombies as an example

 

We would make another batch cause we know there's demand

Problem is the programmer refuse to have another batch made

 

This is another reason to support more accessible programming tools/languages for the Coleco. A broader list of active developers means not only more games but better chances of finding some that are OK with re-releases. I personally use Creative Commons licenses for some of my batariBASIC games.

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This is another reason to support more accessible programming tools/languages for the Coleco. A broader list of active developers means not only more games but better chances of finding some that are OK with re-releases. I personally use Creative Commons licenses for some of my batariBASIC games.

Yes exactly

 

Now, when a programmer ask their game(s) to be published by us, we always warn them, "there could be another run"

 

With Ghost N Zombies, it kind of my fault

I was expecting no more than 60 copies would be sold

At time we were always selling that number or so

Guess things changed with time!

 

Oh man! I was completely wrong!

Call me stupid on that one!

Edited by retroillucid
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Can some developers chime in with a reason to limit cart runs? I honestly can't think of any.

I honestly don't really know why

 

Youki mentioned he doesn't want to piss off the original 60 owners of Ghost n Zombies wich they were told to have only 60 copies

Kind of limited run if you want...

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Ah, and before someone want to point the Pong/Computer Space Boxset as a Limited Edition

Let me say something

 

I really don't think we will even reach 150 copies, and if we managed to get it, I will be the very first surprised

Sure I could make like 200 copies and managed to sell them all..... Someday....

 

Someday.... This is the problem actually....

Inventory = sleeping money we need to recoup for upcomming releases

And you all know how many there is!

 

Don't get me wrong, I love making homebrews, I have alot more fun helping other programmers to get their games released

I have fun,... In fact I too much fun to step away from CollectorVision for more than one day!

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I personally like Retroillucid's approach with the upcoming Pong & Computer Space release as far as protecting one's self financially by making a set number of CIBs based on how many people sign up. There has also been plenty of time afforded for all prospective buyers to find out about the release and multiple avenues have been used to spread the word about it. It is by no means a perfect answer seeing as those that ask to be put on the waiting list may end up backing out when the time comes to pay and I would not mind in the least if a small deposit of say $5 to $10 was required as well which would be non-refundable if the person backed out... or refundable once the copy they reserved was sold to someone else.

 

All the tremendous Homebrewers are taking huge finanacial risks (with their own money, not some big corporations that can easily absorb a lose) and we the consumers really should start to think long and hard about giving them some much needed peace of mind and assurances when it comes to releases. When it comes down to it, there are only a couple of people actually publishing Homebrews for the growing number of programmers that are developing for the ColecoVision, so I thing the community needs to take a long hard look at trying to help and protect these guys the best we can so that there will continue to be new releases for years to come.

 

On another note, I also think that the quality of the game should be considered for an official CIB release and for the most part this is already happening, but there have been a couple that I didn't think deserved to be given the full CIB treatment. In cases such as these, maybe a good alternative would be to make a digital release of a rom file and instruction manual for a greatly reduced price compared to CIB could be considered and then people could use the rom via SD / USB multi-carts or emulation. I love a full CIB release, but then again I'm starting to think it's crazy to pay $50 just so that I have each and every release, play the game once and then put the cart back in it's box and store it away.

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I honestly don't really know why

Youki mentioned he doesn't want to piss off the original 60 owners of Ghost n Zombies wich they were told to have only 60 copies

Kind of limited run if you want...

Surely the best way around this would be a redesigned box/label so everyone knows it's a re-run? To me that way everyone who wants to play the game gets to, but the original batch still hold the greater value.
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love a full CIB release, but then again I'm starting to think it's crazy to pay $50 just so that I have each and every release, play the game once and then put the cart back in it's box and store it away.

I think the best is to have the rom file included in the purchase

 

AND,

 

The possibility to buy cart only , and buying manual and overlay (if any) if needed

 

We are thinking in going into this way since a year

And we first start it with the Pong/Space Computer Boxset

 

And YES, I'm thinking to offer cart only for Pong and Computer Space

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I can say that the days of my current "Team Pixelboy business model" are numbered. I'll be releasing five games this Christmas, and I've got two more games to release in 2014 (three if you count FrontLine SCE) and after that, I'll be concentrating on BasicVision. ("What about your Flip-Cart project?" you ask? I've been having problems with Moldex lately, so I'm starting to reconsider the whole project.)

 

Once BasicVision is done, I have to assume that people are going to start tinkering around with it, and I'll be spending a lot of time fixing reported bugs in the BV compiler and the other software components of the IDE. Once the IDE is stable and reliable, people will start making real games with it, and I will actually be one of those people. :)

 

From there, it starts to get interesting: The quality of the games created with BasicVision will likely vary greatly from one homebrew programmer to the next. The goal of BasicVision is to make ColecoVision programming available to those who are not into learning the intricacies of Z80 assembly language (or even C language) but this doesn't mean that anyone can make great games with BV with one hand tied behind his/her back. Those who have actual diplomas in computer programming will tell you that you need to have the "right stuff" to be a serious programmer. And considering the sheer amount of free time required to program a single ColecoVision game, you can be sure that you need to be serious about it, especially where coding and debugging is concerned. Programming ColecoVision games is fun, but you need to put a decent amount of time and effort into it.

 

All this to say that people are going to want to put their creations on Coleco cartridges, once they are satisfied with their work. And I expect that they will want to include a manual with each cart, but not necessarily a box, just like it's being done in the Atari 2600 homebrew scene. Under these conditions, homebrew ColecoVision publishing is likely going to change a bit: We'll be seing more cart releases without boxes, and this means manufacturing more copies of a particular game will be less of a problem.

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We can't always do that though

Take Ghost n Zombies as an example

 

We would make another batch cause we know there's demand

Problem is the programmer refuse to have another batch made

Well, then you should convince Youki to do Ghost'n'Zombies 2 ;)

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How about making smaller cart only batches for the folks who are late to the party. Carts are not as volume sensitive at low quantities compared to the boxes and manuals. This also avoids pissing off the people who bought the complete sets.

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some items are 'not worth the $$ - when $ is tight' - IMO

 

I think this is a very good point, recently i decided to only buy the best of the best.

I buy homebrews for the Coleco, Atari 2600, Atari 7800 and the Intellivision which makes it impossible to buy every release, which i used to do with the Colecovision.

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I have suggested cart and manul runs before as I think that saves time on the publishers end so they dont have to deal with glueing and folding the boxes . And it saves money for people who just cant afford all the boxes . Typically the collectors are the ones who want the cib versions and dont play them (much) and the cart and manual guys are the ones who want to just play them ... (imo)

Edited by AtariBrian
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