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SneaksieDave

'Making of TDS' article

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It's cool to see his perspective.

 

What do we think about "episodic content"?

(not that his idea is going to have any purchase with the higher-ups, but hypothetically...)

Sounds like a series of missions coming out every few months.

I want to feel like the community would lap them up.

But then again, I feel like there's going to be another surge of FM making when Darkmod comes out, the community is not all that big, and it's the PC people that are liking the stand-alone missions (FMs), not the console crowd ... so not only is the market tighter, but the scrutiny would be higher, etc.

I'd be very interested to see it happen, though.

If the story gets really involved and interesting, then I might follow it like a good tv show.

But I wonder if it would really fly.


What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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If the story gets really involved and interesting, then I might follow it like a good tv show.

But I wonder if it would really fly.

 

They wouldn't create a new engine for it, so presumably they'd use TDS. How much would you pay for a couple extra TDS missions, when you can download a bunch for free already?

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I wouldn't pay for episodic content; it's just an excuse to release crappy games and then force people to pay over and over for something they should have got in the first place.

 

Besides, what incentive does it provide to cultivate a modding community, if the company wants you to pay for every new mission? If episodic content takes off we'll probably see games locked down so hard they make TDS look like the Linux kernel.

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I wouldn't pay for episodic content; it's just an excuse to release crappy games and then force people to pay over and over for something they should have got in the first place.

 

Just like HalfLifeless 2, Episode: Who Cares?. Just a pile of eventually boring tunnel shootouts and puzzles with wrecked cars. I immensely enjoyed the game itself at first, I thought the combat was fun and original, the battles with flyers and the tripods were fantastic, other worldly, very immersive. But it started with invading the Combine tower, tunnel clearing, and episode 2 was more of the same. I think it will be the same with installment style production of games.When its on a schedule and must be done at a certain time in a particular way, my guess is that it will get redundant pretty fast.

 

 

Besides, what incentive does it provide to cultivate a modding community, if the company wants you to pay for every new mission? If episodic content takes off we'll probably see games locked down so hard they make TDS look like the Linux kernel.

 

How hard would it be to build a game engine from scratch, could it be done on the timescale of the Mod for example or is it a totally different level of time and effort?

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To build a really good, modern engine takes years of full-time (or close to it) work. And at the end of that road, you won't even have a game; just a pretty piece of unused tech. :)


My games | Public Service Announcement: TDM is not set in the Thief universe. The city in which it takes place is not the City from Thief. The player character is not called Garrett. Any person who contradicts these facts will be subjected to disapproving stares.

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I was trying to think about what keeps me interested in the potential of episodic content, in spite of all the downsides that this thread is bringing up.

I keep thinking it might be like t.v. (good tv, like with cable series, Entourage, Rome, Deadwood, Carnival, The Tudors, Sopranos...), where you get invested in following the story, and it's a damn good story, and it's polished and looking good.

But then you have to factor in the long development time just to get out single episodes.

And then the admittedly swarmy idea that, when it's a game, it comes across as "milking" ... if they can give us all these great additional levels, why not just package them into the original game we're paying so much to buy.

 

But I still can't completely let go of the idea of a nice potential in the tv analogy.

The one way I thought that it just might fly is if they had episodic content packaged as a subscription service (like cable; I seriously doubt it could ever be like network tv where advertising alone could carry the cost ... although that might work for some indie game, but not a polished game, but anyway, that would also probably make the episodes suck like network tv. I'd rather them be cool like cable series.)

But also like cable, it shouldn't just be one game, but a couple of series packaged together ... and maybe they can share development costs (using the same engine and certain assets, although they are in different genres) to reduce costs for all of them, again like cable service.

 

And then there's the idea that they could just bundle themselves with cable tv altogether, so that they add an option to HBO service to has HBO Game series as well ... and they promote and write them like the excellent tv series they have going.

Somewhere, swimming around in all of that, is something that just might have the potential to be something cool, and something that I wouldn't pay too much extra for by itself, but wouldn't mind paying a little more to add it to my HBO service, and that gives me more than just one game. And they'd have to be damn good.

But I still don't know if it will fly.

Edited by demagogue

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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That was a really interesting read. The entire problem seemed to be originating from the marketing standpoint, trying to mass market instead of appeal to a target market, trying to 'hit that sweet spot' and taking to much onto their plate. I think if a new thief game was to be developed it would probably be as good as T1 or T2 because of the lessons learned from T3.

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Episodic content works really well for Sam & Max Episodes. They reuse assets a lot, so there's not a lot of turnaround time between each episode - more than you'd have for a TV show, but much less than the Half-Life episodes. A couple of months I believe. They have tons of recurring locations and characters, which change slightly between each show. Half the fun is going down to Bosco's to see his wacky disguise for this episode, what crazy conspiracy he's unearthed now, what nefarious deed Jimmy the rat is up to, what Sybil's new profession is, etc. etc.

 

So yes, it can be done, but it needs a lot of planning and it doesn't work for every kind of game. S&M episodes (<---really unfortunate acronym :P ) is the only time I've ever seen someone pull it off. Adventure games can be suited to the concept quite well since they're very story-based (not unlike a TV show).

 

Could it work for a stealth game? I wouldn't say never, but I don't think it's really practical to do a one-level-per-episode kind of deal. Each S&M episode is essentially a copy-paste of the previous one with new dialogue and scripted sequences, whereas an entire 3D level requires its own mostly-new set of assets.

 

You'd need to set it in a city hub and make the opportunities for where you can go and what you can do be different each mission; different enough to keep the experience fresh without making it seem like you're just taking a full GTA-style free-roaming setup and splicing it into different packages just to milk the concept. Tricky.


My games | Public Service Announcement: TDM is not set in the Thief universe. The city in which it takes place is not the City from Thief. The player character is not called Garrett. Any person who contradicts these facts will be subjected to disapproving stares.

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I think the episodic content for a thief game would be a great idea personally. Especially after the 'failure' of tds. Not only would it allow the developers to listen to the ideas of the community and improve upon them, they could take in a ton of suggestions from people and use those instead of having to brainstorm their own. As far as assets go, the only new assets that would have to be made would be maps, textures, sounds and a couple characters here and there. A lot of the same assets could be re-used. This would lower production costs and result in a lower market-price when the episodes got released. I don't think it would be very difficult to have 4-5 missions in each episode which satisfy the customers.

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