Jump to content
KidGameR186496

Good News regarding Homebrew Games

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,i have some really good stuff for all of you.

 

After the Chameleon fiasco,i wanted to talk to Collectorvision & Piko Interactive on their Facebook pages to see if they had any interest in porting some of their games either for the Jag or Jag CD. Fortunately they do,but the 2 developers have some issues,Collectorvision doesn't have a programmer for the system yet,menwhile Piko Interactive is figuring out on how to put some of their games in cartrigdges form.

 

But either way,this is awesome news, what do you think?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that funding current homebrew devs to port existing content to old consoles is a fun idea, but there are a few hurdles to get over before it becomes feasible.

 

The big one is money. It seems to me, please correct me if I am wrong, but most of the homebrew devs for the Jag are doing it for fun/for the love of/for nostalgia sake. And the devs that are making a bit of coin from it, and are experienced enough to do ports, are probably not making enough for it to be a full time job. Can Collectorvision & Piko come up with enough money to pay existing devs to turn their "love" into a job? I am not sure what that amount would be, as I image it would be different for everyone.

 

The return. It feels like there are somewhere around 300 - 500 people actively collecting new content for the Jaguar (that might be a bit optimistic on my part). This number could increase depending on what is being ported, and after marketing, but I hate running numbers on hopes. Lets say I was able to sell to 400 of those people at $50 USD a unit. That's $20,000 gross (I haven't paid my salary, the dev, or taxes yet). All I can say when I see that number, is that it isn't enough to pay a developer and make a profit as a company trying to run a business. You might be able to increase profit by porting to multiple platforms, but you will need more developers for that, which equals more money out of the company's pockets up front (I sure hope these devs get paid something up front if this kind of work does happen). The problem is audience, is the existing audience big enough? (Big reason why so many third parties left development for the Jaguar originally, the Jag has always been a hard sell ;) ).

 

Now Collectorvision & Piko could make some concessions to help convince existing developers to jump on board. One could be to give the developer as much time as they want to do the port, in return for getting paid little, to create a no pressure situation to get it done, because they don't have enough money to pay the developer to commit to getting it done in a certain amount of time. This has the pro of helping the dev not to stress and to continue to do it for the love of it. But can have a negative effect on marketing (maintaining a newly introduced audience over a long period of time), on relationships (how much can the company push to get it done, how much can the dev push back? Makes for a confusing, gooey relationship that no normal person would enjoy). Not to mention the possibility of it never getting done (death, devs loss of interest, companies loss of interest/money, etc...)

 

I am not saying it isn't possible, as there are examples of this already "working". One that I personally backed on Kickstarter was Sydney Hunter and the Caverns of Death, which is a Collectorvision game. It isn't so much a port, then a from scratch project, but they are using existing formulas from popular retro games to create their content. The way they pitched their campaign it seemed they would have had it finished a long time ago, but, it seems like they are in a similar boat, where the devs are getting very little for their efforts (the final funding project was about $40,000, devs might be getting a kickback on future sales), but they love what they are doing. So those in charge are giving them space/time to work on what they love (This is all a guess though). Certainly not a long term business model, but everyone feels like they are winning at the end of the day.

 

I would love to see a "successful" business model for creating/porting games for retro consoles, where the developers/artists/others involved aren't being abused financially some day. As far as I know, it hasn't happened yet, and trying to restart an old engine is bound to be an incredibly steep, uphill battle.

Edited by lachoneus
  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lachoneus understands the situation better than most. read. digest. know.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just had a conversation with my brother. He brought up a possible model that others have used that seems like it would more likely find financial success. The idea is to work backwards from a success, porting to multiple platforms as you go.

 

An example of this would be to make a game for contemporary markets, like Android/iOS/Steam, and only if there was success on those markets, move backwards, based on audience, when porting the game. Dreamcast>SNES>Jaguar>NES>... (This flow doesn't show an accurate order based on audience) With some clever ideas and money behind marketing the game, it seems like you could produce a business model where everyone wins financially, because you could use funds generated from the success on modern platforms to port to older platforms. It might actually drive potential newcomers who experience the modern platform version of the game to want to start collecting and playing the games for older platforms. If you could somehow drive newcomers to older consoles like that, you could solve the audience size problem I mentioned in my last post (uphill battle :mad:)

 

Remember the keywords here are "seems like..." & "you could...". Personally, I think more than one killer title would be needed to really get the wheels turning.

 

A great non-Jaguar example of this working is Retro City Rampage. I wouldn't be surprised if there were quite a few people who bought the MS-DOS port of the game who hadn't been exposed much to MS-DOS. Of course they only made a 1,000 of these at $30 a piece. I doubt it paid for the time put into porting it, but I am sure everyone got paid due supplementary income from its success on other modern platforms with larger audiences.

 

A Jaguar example of this would be Orion_'s games, but I am not sure how successful it was. It would be interesting to know if Orion_ was more successful with modern platform sales or his Jaguar/Atari Falcon sales of Elansar/Philia/Alices Moms Rescue. I actually waited for my Jag copies of his games before I purchased them on the Android market to support his work. So people like me would actually hinder this kind of model :_( .

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The most difficult thing in that scenario is the initial successful game. 99.99% of those games never make it in the first place.

 

OTOH, looking at things differently, you could make a game on Jaguar where you're a turd sailing down a river, you have to press B every 5 minutes to remain a floater and not settle on the bottom. That would sell 50 carts in a day. More if they were numbered and came with collectible fake turds in various shades of brown. You could even make a game that would sell similarly where you pick which order to click on a maximum of 9 objects randomly, with nothing more to it than dumb luck and attrition... oh, wait...

 

Seriously and realistically, there's no viable business-like approach to making Jaguar games unless you're doing it yourself for fun. If you can't do it yourself you're stuck looking for someone else willing to give enough of a shit about your games to port them rather than do their own stuff - so you either have to have a great game and be willing to support "some guy" all the way through to finished product or you're going to have to throw money at them, and with the numbers Jag games sell, that's not going to see any return. No game is going to sell 400 copies. Most would do well to sell 100. Maybe something like Another World could eventually sell big numbers because it sold plenty to people who had no intention of playing the game, they were fans of the original. Or maybe someone like Songbird can shift large numbers as he sells the same game perpetually rather than a one-run-and-done, but he's not creating those games, he's licensing beta or finished builds and maybe tinkering with them a little, not the same prospect at all.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That back-porting (or retro porting) reasoning forgets to consider that if you have a successful game on a popular platform might as well develop another game on the SAME platform because it is .... you know .... popular.

We've seen the opposite: Pier Solar successful on MD -> Pier Solar ported to XB360 (and PS3 I believe) but it is NOT as successful as it needs to compete with the big boys then.

 

Back-porting is only meaningful if the starter game is really puny as far as requirements go or you can't even think about "porting" per se as much as rewriting/redesign the whole 9 yards.

 

In the economy of scale it may be cheaper for you to buy the popular platform and the 10-20 games you'd see ported rather than pay each and every back-port trough your nose as normally those are overpriced (due to the small numbers involved and the amount of "fluff" thrown in .... Pier Solar again).

When a game like Pier Solar costs 14.99 on XB360 but 50 or 60 or 70 for MD, I need to justify to myself the extra dough (min 35US$), after 8 games like that I could have bought the XB360 in the first place and all the games.

 

So developers of new games for old consoles need to stay focused and deal with the small numbers, it's not a surprise that they target SNES and MD the most as those have the likelihood to cater to the higher number of prospect buyers.

There's homebrews for a lot of consoles (Vectrex, CV, 7800 etc...) but I doubt they are raking in tons of money, if there was no passion behind it I believe that as a business it would be on the loosing end, but luckily it's getting cheaper and cheaper (I mean the PCBs, the mask ROMs, the mapper logic, the dev environments, what's the same is the time required to do the game [art, music, level design etc....])

 

Finally I think Piko was interested to port to Jag a set of licenses he recently acquired that have ST versions already and as he saw CJ ports it got him thinking, I don't think he intended to start point blank ports of incompatible games.

(ST games being somewhat easier due to relying heavily on the same CPU and being dependent a little less on specialized HW as compared to an Amiga [maybe, not a given though], not that there's is anything inherently easy but it helps if the games by far use mostly the exact same CPU and if the gfx is somewhat easy/understood/simple or any reasonable mix)

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know the dificulties of being a homebrew developer,especially for the jaguar, the dificulty of coding for the system & finding those damned cartridge molders. I'm NOT a expert i'll admit that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know the dificulties of being a homebrew developer,especially for the jaguar, the dificulty of coding for the system & finding those damned cartridge molders. I'm NOT a expert i'll admit that.

 

There's nothing particularly problematic when it comes to the plastics, there are a number of retailers who will sell them in bulk. Their stocks are dwindling to some extent, but they are out there. It'd be nice to see the moulds MK has ending up with someone who would put them to proper use and not simply for supplying a few collectors with yet another pointless item for the shelf at $8 a pop, but somehow I think designing and producing a new mould will be the way to go as a more cost-effective solution over the longer term.

 

Anyway, in the grand scheme of producing a game from scratch, placing a PCB between two pieces of polypropylene registers zero on the important-stuff-to-give-a-shit-about-meter.

 

Jaguar game creation and production has never been easier. To find a time where there were more people actively making and selling Jaguar games than right now, you have to go all the way back to the mid 90s.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, for most communities, I would suspect a reasonably priced, well-made cartridge homebrew could sell between 50 - 250 copies. I'm not sure where those numbers would fall for the Jaguar. I assume the most successful cartridge homebrew for the Jaguar was Another World, so that would probably be the measure of what to expect for the upper limits of sales on the Jaguar for something like that. And in the case of a title that isn't recognizable, I'd cut that figure by 25 - 50%.

Edited by Bill Loguidice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see why anyone would want to develop anything for the Jaguar that isn't purely out of love or fun because while it's possible to make a very small amount of money on some games, it definitely doesn't add up for most people to bother with. The idea of selling 250 units of a game on a good run is very unmoving and is a quick way to demotivate anyone with such an idea in mind. Personally, I've always wanted to make/publish a Jaguar game and maybe someday I will but I know for a fact it'll just be for the fun and to cover the costs involved in actually having it done.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a lot of expenses Carl (Songbird) probably doesn't include in the price for the cart that CollectorVision or Piko would have to maintain a business.

 

-Eric (Carl's meaner older brother).

Edited by PlaysWithWolves
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's nothing particularly problematic when it comes to the plastics, there are a number of retailers who will sell them in bulk. Their stocks are dwindling to some extent, but they are out there. It'd be nice to see the moulds MK has ending up with someone who would put them to proper use and not simply for supplying a few collectors with yet another pointless item for the shelf at $8 a pop, but somehow I think designing and producing a new mould will be the way to go as a more cost-effective solution over the longer term.

 

Anyway, in the grand scheme of producing a game from scratch, placing a PCB between two pieces of polypropylene registers zero on the important-stuff-to-give-a-shit-about-meter.

 

Jaguar game creation and production has never been easier. To find a time where there were more people actively making and selling Jaguar games than right now, you have to go all the way back to the mid 90s.

Well in that case you're right

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see why anyone would want to develop anything for the Jaguar that isn't purely out of love or fun because while it's possible to make a very small amount of money on some games, it definitely doesn't add up for most people to bother with. The idea of selling 250 units of a game on a good run is very unmoving and is a quick way to demotivate anyone with such an idea in mind. Personally, I've always wanted to make/publish a Jaguar game and maybe someday I will but I know for a fact it'll just be for the fun and to cover the costs involved in actually having it done.

I've always wanted to make a game for the Jaguar but i'm not a programmer,i'm only good at drawing stuff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...