Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Epic opinions

I’ve mulled over whether to say anything at all, but if you can’t say what you think about the games industry when you own your own company, when can you?

I was part of a panel yesterday at Develop, the games conference for developers in Brighton UK. I was speaking about ‘microstudios’ with Robin Lacey(Beatnik), Sean Murray(Hello Games) and Mark Morris(Introversion), all of whom are good guys. As a one-man outfit, I’m the real baby studio there, but at 13 years of experience, also the grandfather, so I guess that makes me middle aged. Anyway… all was cool, and there was much joking and mutual silliness. Apparently I am the Barry Manilow of game development, and a mug to spend £75 on jeans. And the topic then came up of how indies can respond directly to gamers on stuff like messageboards. Basically I started making the point, and mark was also agreeing about how someone can email you as an indie dev, and you can reply personally back to that potential customer, and hopefully, that way you have converted that guy to buying the game.

At this point, there was this derisive snort from this guy in the front row, who said something to the effect of ‘one guy? who cares, that’s a waste of time’. He then started to lecture us on how that’s a silly way to do it.  I’m 95% sure that all four of us on the panel thought ‘what the fuck?’ as well as ‘who is this guy’? compounded by Robin asking him if he worked in marketing.

Anyway… it turned out this guy was Mark Rein from Epic, although he seemed to assume everyone within earshot knew exactly who he was, and why he must obviously be right. I got the impression he was there to laugh at the little guys, or to just inform us how we are all wrong. Interestingly, it seemed there was someone from sports interactive (one time indies, as I recall) there, who seemed more on the indie wavelength than Mark. It would have been cool to chat with him.

So… I’ve given this a lot of thought, and weighed up the pros and cons of just putting this down to misinterpreting someone, and so on, and I have reached this conclusion.

Mark Rein is a jerk.

Now I suspect this is not groundbreaking news, although it is to me, because I’ve never met him or even seen him before. However, this experience seems to confirm my opinions on Epic and companies like them in general. Now Mark may well look down on humble indies like me. He may well think I’m doing it wrong. he may laugh when me and Mark discuss the pitiful money our companies make, and giggle at the fact that we reply to gamers on a one-on-one basis… But fuck him. I would rather earn minimum wage making indie strategy games for the PC, as my own boss, with an original game, satisfying a hardcore niche of friendly customers (the one-thousand-true-fans-philosophy), without a publisher telling me what to do, and without having to leave my house to go to work, without having to do ‘crunch time’ (because, dude… its like so macho to work until 3AM and never see your family)… Than I would work at epic for megabucks. The sheer overwhelming stench of testosterone would probably give me a headcahe, combined with the dizzy excitement of exactly what shade of grey our next game’s space-marine would wear as he kicked alien butt. (I feel bad working on Gratuitous Space Battles for almost 2 years, but it seems like that old ‘wisecracking space marine with big muscles and chisel-jaw’ idea has been stretched out longer than the hundred years war).

I have absolutely no doubt mark would just naturally assume me feeling like that is jealousy, which, as anyone who knows me personally would testify, is just fucking funny. I really don’t care about Epic, and their games, as they are way way too macho and ‘dude’ for my liking, and don’t have demos, so I just assume they haven’t changed since Unreal Tournament. I try not to comment on games I don’t like, as each to their own tastes etc.  The only reason I’m moved to give a damn enough to state my opinion, is that I resent having some triple-a studio jerk come and tell someone whose run a microstudio for thirteen years that he is doing it all wrong. If Mark from introversion suggests I’m doing it wrong, thats cool, he does what I do, and has some serious experience, ditto anyone on that panel, or anyone with long indie experience. And I listen carefully, often over lunch.

But Triple-A studio bosses trying to lecture me on how to communicate better with gamers? Fuck off.

Cliff Harris (

192 thoughts on Epic opinions

  1. Hmm. The thousand fan theory is usually about providing a living wage, not minimum wage. A recent news story put a realistic minimum wage at £14400 per year. Yeah, good luck raising a family on that. Anyway…

    At one game a year, it’d be just 15 quid profit per fan though, so not out of the question. A thousand fans paying thirty quid a year, starts to look liveable.

    Of course, ten years from now, there will be a hundred times as many people looking for fans.

    Gather your fans early, and gather them often.

    Sad article, Cliff. It’s a genuine shame that crap like this goes on. Similar to the worst of those 80s Hollywood movies with the jocks and the nerds.

  2. “I just assume they haven’t changed since Unreal Tournament”

    Basically: yes. While Epic are not quite as bad as Id software in this way, they are one of those companies that likes to release virtually an identical copy of their previous game with an upgraded engine. (The main difference is that the Id Tech engines are all Carmack’s personal playthings designed with his tastes in mind, while the Unreal Engine has tons of features meant to cater to other developers’ needs.) While Unreal 2 was interesting, Unreal 3 basically threw out everything that Unreal 2 did and basically tried to build a narrative around deathmatching. This is not unlike Nintendo making a Zelda game where they decide to focus exclusively on combat in the overworld and not include any dungeons or puzzles at all and towns are only seen in cutscenes.

    @LazerFX: “Weirdest thing to me – Epic started off as a few-man ‘indie’ band, waaaaay back in the day (Who recalls Epic MegaGames? ZZT? Jazz Jackrabbit and all that stuff?). Seems like they’ve forgotten their roots…”

    I think that may be part of why Mark had that reaction in the first place. I believe a lot of people who started off small in the late 80s-mid 90s and went big now regret doing it that way: in the beginning they could be totally indie; now they’re shackled to publishers demanding they work 24/7 on AAA ultra-mega-remakes of existing games. Or they’re burned out and not working on games at all anymore.

    @Vance: “In other words, what you, and the other fine indie developers out there do, simply makes sense and you’re just cramping the style of the bigger guys – why? Because they can’t be bothered to interact with their fan base anyway,”

    I think it may also have something to do with the average Epic fan. Now, not everyone is like this (for example: I’m not), but the general perception is that generally those who play Unreal Tournament are much like those who generally play Counter-Strike and/or Halo: immature adrenaline junkies. And in that context, I can’t fault Mark for not wanting to interact with his own fanbase much. It sounds like he’s envious of the quality of GSB’s fans.

  3. Sorry to say it but Mark Rein is correct in his own way. If you pander to the lowest common denominator like Epic does then you are much more likely to sell more copies than innovative, interesting, more maneuverable indie studios. However, you say that you’d rather make a modest living doing something you love than to churn out the next McDonalds of games, and that’s integrity that Epic lost since they stopped making Megagames.

    Is Mark Rein a jerk? Hell yes. But it won’t do you any good to tell it to him because he will never understand where you’re coming from. Soulless business men dream of volume, not quality.

  4. I’ll be blunt: Fuck Epic Games.

    Now to elaborate…

    I remember when Epic was new. When CliffyB and Mark Rein were the two most visible public faces of the company. Back when they were pushing Unreal in the Engine Wars™ between iD’s Quake Engine and Epic’s UE. I loved Unreal and Unreal Tournament and firmly stood with Epic, even during their few blunders like UT2K3. Back in those days, I remember e-mailing both CliffyB and Mark Rein and getting PERSONAL responses back, and they were both very active in the Epic Games community.

    Along came the Gears of War franchise and Epic started acting like they were the appointed Kings of gaming. I had to laugh when I played the first Gears, though, because the models looked like next gen, higher resolution, higher polygon models of the typical UT2K4 male soldiers. Nothing really new, just the same characters in a different context with different names.

    I anxiously awaited UT3, but the writing was on the wall. Epic started making comments about how UT was just a testing ground for their new engine features. This comment was complete and utter shite, because if it hadn’t been for Unreal and UT, Epic Games would have never survived long enough to make Gears. The ultimate back stab was when they showed the intro trailer for UT3 and it opened with the line “From the studio that brought you Gears of War…”, completely turning their back on the history of the Unreal Tournament franchise.

    Now, it’s impossible to communicate with anyone from Epic Games. They’re rarely in contact with their own community. They’ve become far too big for their britches. Mark Rein is off peddling Unreal Engine, which as someone has mentioned has become far too standard and bland, while CliffyB is finishing up Gears 3 and then moving on to his new baby – the multiplatform FPS BulletStorm (which, by the way, looks JUST LIKE GEARS… shocker, I know).

    In stark contrast there’s a triple-A studio that never lost sight of the individual gamer: Insomniac Games. I have e-mailed Insomniac with praise and criticism of both their Ratchet & Clank franchise and their Resistance franchise and, without fail, I get a personal response from someone every time. Sometimes it’s simply a PR person writing a thank you letter. A few times, as was the case with R&C2 (PS2) and Resistance 1 (PS3), I actually got responses from developers of the respective games.

    The ultimate hilarity, at least to me, is that Microsoft is going to be the company that suffers most because of Epic Games. MS has carved out a nice little relationship with them and the 360 benefited significantly from the exclusivity of Gears which drove unit interest until Halo 3 came out. Epic doesn’t really care about Microsoft – Gears was a contract of convenience for Epic Games. Gears 3 ends the franchise and Epic has moved on to multiplatform and UE4 development. After Gears 3, Epic’s exclusivity with Microsoft is done, and Microsoft is going to lose one of their major “staple” titles.

  5. Thing is, devs from big studios don’t tend to need to interact with their community in the same way as indie devs.
    Why bother building up your own community when you know a load of fan sites are going to spring up, and the only work you need to do is to get your community manager to post there once a week? That technique seems to work more than well enough for a load of the bigger studios.
    Of course, people always appreciate it when you go the extra mile…

    I’d be interested in seeing how many extra sales Cliffski gets because of this blog post.

  6. Personally as a gamer, I would rather have devs replying to our concerns than dealing with those CS or Tech support guys. It gives us more of a homely feeling, such as you actually give a shit. Epic sucks, and so those their Engine, it is the worst POS engine I have ever worked with when it comes to functionality.

  7. Yeah, Mark Rein can jump in with guns blazing sometimes, invited or not. :-) It’s all intended to be in good fun, but I guess it didn’t work out that way this time. Sorry!

    To the the “Epic was nice till Mark came along” crowd, Mark’s been here since 1992. He’s a world-class dealmaker, and Epic would certainly not have survived to 2010 as an independent developer without his tenacity and business savvy. The ability to doggedly negotiate with publishers and platform markers has absolutely been key to retaining the freedom of our creative and technical folks.

    @MadTinkerer, companies like Epic and Valve retain total creative control over our games. We work with publishers who do marketing and distribution, but what we build and when we’ll deliver it is up to us. The spirit is the same now as in the early days; what’s really changed is size (it takes 70+ developers to build a game like Gears) and process (you need some real organization and management to run this sort of company effectively).

    When you have millions of customers, you can’t talk to them all. Many of the Epic folks are in frequent contact with enough gamers that we have a pretty clear idea of what the community is thinking, but with this scope of product you can’t respond as quickly or as pervasively. It’s a nice but real problem, and one smaller teams like y’all will share when faced with a runaway success.

  8. lol Cliff, nice to see you haven’t changed since our days at Elixir. Well said and congrats on GSB, I play it far more that any GoW/UT game I can assure you :)

  9. Tim, let’s be honest. Too often, Mark is way too jerky, and this is why he’s served you so well as a negotiator, which makes you complicit in his assaholism. Some of us aren’t willing to go to those lengths to remain independent. The moral compass doesn’t always point the way to wealth.

    I recently asked Mark for a quote on UE3 for an angel funded game with a cool design you couldn’t get funded at a publisher where he asked for 25% of the developer’s budget and 25% of the developer’s royalty. Come on. I shipped the first UE3 game before even Epic did, and every complaint people have about it were compounded 3-fold to pull that off, but we did it minimal whining. Mark doesn’t remember shit like that, and it’s unprofessional.

    I like Mark personally and realize he’s mostly having fun, but life is too short to negotiate with him. He’s gets petulant and overly competitive, and it’s frankly amateur and disrespectful. If you weren’t spoon-feeding him some of the best tech out there, he’d be unemployable.

    Mark isn’t serving you well as your customer-facing representative. Unity is crawling right up your asses, and I’m cheering them on, primarily because of Mark’s abuse. A lot of people I know are, and they cite that same behavior.

    It’s telling that he hasn’t gotten on here and apologized yet. Is there an excuse for that, too? His guns don’t seem to be blazing now.

  10. Well said Cliff! There’s no excuse for such behavior, and it’s good you made a post about this, so that it becomes apparent that no-one enjoys this man’s way of talking. I liked the Gears Of War games for what they are, but the entire CliffyB/Mark Rein charade is making me feel a little “guilty” when I play those games.

  11. Well now, that money I was possibly going to spend on Gears 3 and Bulletstorm will now go in a reserve for more Gratuitous space battles expansinos

  12. This strikes me as completely weird – back in the day when UT shipped (almost 11 years ago!) I emailed Mark Rein about when it would come out in Australia. He replied almost straight away and was very helpful.

  13. @Tim Sweeney

    “It’s a nice but real problem, and one smaller teams like y’all will share when faced with a runaway success.”

    with great respect tim (you made the ZZT, after all, which was instrumental in basically founding the indie games / hobbyist games community), i don’t think that’s really what this about. of course you can’t reply to everyone personally after the volume reaches a certain degree. it was more that the VP didn’t recognize that what works for marketing and PR at a smaller scale doesn’t work at a larger scale, and vice versa. if you only need to sell 1000 copies a year to make a living, every one sale counts, and every email counts, and every forum post you make about your game counts.

    so him saying it’s inefficient to do it that way shows he is a bit out of touch with the realities of being an indie game developer, and the relatively lack of marketing and notability we have to deal with. for instance, you do realize how easy it is to get gears news in games magazines compared to how easy it is for cliffski or myself to get news of our games in game magazines (even if our games are just as good)? because we can’t rely on games journalists to market our games (we can only rely on them to ignore them) we can only do unorthodox, guerrilla tactics and one on one connections with other people. that’s our bread and butter, literally, and saying ‘ignore personal connections and email’ doesn’t make sense as advice to give an indie developer.


  14. Tim:

    The fact that you just smile off what Mark did is weak. I’m local to the Cary area, so do you mind if I come into your next presentation and start making uninvited remarks during it? I don’t care if you support Mark; hell, that’s your job. However, this isn’t the first time that Mark has failed with the brain-to-mouth filter test. Remember 2003 and the Unreal security vulnerability? Yeah. Let’s piss off a bunch of hackers. Good idea there.

    Look, Epic may retain creative freedom, but I’ve seen the sports cars outside; you’ve lost the underground touch. To this day, I’m still wondering why Epic hasn’t embraced the local gaming community (like Redstorm has) and offer volunteer game testing to those who apply.

  15. Well, Mark isn’t doing a great job promoting UE among indie devs now, is he?

    My guess is that he was hired to be a jerk (either artificially or because he’s a natural) to deal with jerky publishers – something the guys that do the actual work and thinking at Epic can’t be bothered to do. Since the real world is full of jerks, he may be indeed a central piece in Epic’s success, given his (proven) natural jerkiness.

    Now we only need a way to avoid guys like him taking first row seats in such events and the world will be a step closer to perfection.

  16. Great post. It is a shame you and the other panel members had to deal with this idiot. You have the right attitude though, screw Mark Rein. To be honest the unreal engine is popping up way too much in games these days. I have reduced the time I spend playing Xbox due to the “sameness” in the games. Glad there are companies such as yours trying things differently. Keep up the good work.

  17. Lesson for Epic to learn: a large company’s ability to innovate in the games world (thus, chances of future success) greatly depends on how well they can isolate their (necessary) jerks from the developers both inside and outside the company’s walls.

  18. Addendum to free lesson for Epic to learn: the direct proportion described above relies on the tenet that a company large enough to need jerks should also isolate that class of workers from the players as well.

  19. CHEERS MATE!! BIG UP for this!!

    and why the heck was Rein even at this conference?

  20. @Tim Sweeney – Mark is fairly famous now for running his mouth. Its obvious he doesn’t actually do anything in the back office (work on games), other than negotiate and think he is cool because he directs a big powerhouse like Epic. I think you would see, however, that Mark is definitely a replaceable commodity. Sales guys are a important, especially one with that amount of experience, but he’s not helping you guys in as many ways as you think. I’m not suggesting he isn’t a loyal and good friend to you and to Epic, but his opinions are obviously out of line. I’ve never met him, but I know I would recognize him from the many stories, videos and screenshots I’ve seen of him making stupid statements. I’ve followed games long enough that I have a long history of Mark’isms in my head.

    Mark, keep your opinions to yourself. Indies don’t try to compete in your market, stay out of ours.

  21. Great read, I agree with you. :)

    The best service and experiences from games I’ve had this have all been from indie or small developers.

    Keep up the great work. :)

  22. Dear Mr. Cliff Harris,

    You have just sold one copy of Gratuitous Space Battles with this post. I fucking love what you stand for. Buy a beer with the money you’ll be getting from me next payday.

  23. I’d like to preface this by saying that before seeing a news piece about this blog I didn’t know there was any sort of indie games scene on the internet.

    Mr Harris, I’m screwing around with all the demos on your site now, and I think you just sold one copy of every game here and opened my eyes to a whole new world. Just earlier this week I sold every console, game, controller etc. that I had because I’m so bored of video games. I held my first controller when I was three years old and have been playing games constantly since, but over the last few years I’ve gotten more and more bored with it for exactly the reasons you just described in Epic Games. I’ve actually been depressed lately because I’m not sure what to do now. It’s not that video games are my life, I’ve picked up lots of new hobbies as they got more and more boring (See: grey space marine vs aliens), but they were such an important part of my life for so long that giving them up is almost like losing an old friend.

    Now, just from your site and flitting around the internet with my new google keyword “indie” in tow, the magic is back. It feels almost like that first time again. All because you decided to tell one bigwig asshole to fuck off.

    Thank you. :)

  24. Very well put! More people in the industry should reply to fans now and then. Since Twitter more have and that’s good to see. Why would you ever be above replying to a fan/customer? You can’t or have to answer everybody of course, but pick a few from time to time, it helps to keep you in touch with reality also.

    Being an microstudio has nothing to do with doing it right or wrong. You might not sell millions of copies of your game, but that doesn’t mean you’re a lesser company then anyone else. I’ve had more fun with some indie titles, then I had with some so called AAA titles with teams of 100+ people. When will people finally learn that size doesn’t matter? ;)
    Gladly some of the bigger guys like Stardock (Impulse Driven) and Valve (Steam) also understand that very well and work and interact with the community on many levels. Its more a mindset then anything to do with being a micro or a macro studio.

    I won’t buy GSB, because I already own it :D, but I’m going to buy the expansions this weekend (easy since the only reason I didn’t do so before, was me not having the time to play with them :D )and promise to tell at least two people abouts GSB this week. You’ve always shown quality service / responses to fans and customers and that should be rewarded.

    Keep fighting the good fight!

  25. I haven’t read all the comments and I missed this particular exchange, although I was at Develop. Sorry if this sentiment has been stated earlier.
    I have a little theory as to why this Mark Rein was being so offensive: you unsettle him.
    From what I can gather, he’s a marketeer near the top of the Epic food chain. As such, he’s fairly far removed from the pushing of pixels, the pulling of vertices or the wrestling of code. He probably earns a fair bit of cash and undoubtedly more than most at Epic. In order to justify his role to himself, whilst all this hard work of actually making their games goes on around him, he has to big up his role of salesman in his own mind. Some people in his position do this by convincing themselves that they are more important than the actual creative/technical talent on the shop floor.
    Then he sees you, an independent developer making great games that people like and you, along with all the actual work of making the games, also do his job. And you do it by talking to fans as if they were human beings, rather than spending squidillions on massive marketing campaigns.
    Your success undermines the reason for his professional existence. This is why Bobby K. says that it takes a village to make a game and only a village idiot thinks they can do it alone; the perceived need for a big organisation justifies their existence. When proved wrong, like all bullies, they lash out and ridicule, rather than change their view of the world.
    As a coder for a well known games studio I think that most actual developers, as well as gamers, will side with you on this.

  26. I hate that he missed the point and didn’t realize everybody is making games here. Perhaps he got defensive over perceiving you guys as bashing the traditional way of doing games these days, but I don’t see the sense in it. Everybody’s making games for game lovers.

    You’re probably right though. Testosterone is the root of many problems and he was likely being a jack ass for the sake of being one.

    People pay you for you to keep on what you’re doing and you have been for a while. That to me is exactly what successful business is.

  27. I met a large number of the guys at Epic during E3 back in the day when Unreal Engine 2 was first coming out. The company I worked for at the time was using their engine for non-game purposes. Even though we were five people and would possibly not provide them with any real money they helped us out greatly. We met with them during E3 to show what we had done so far and they worked with us to make our product better. Even some of the features we suggested made its way into the core code. Everyone I met was nice, they showed us their latest stuff, we played games, we chatted and overall it was an excellent experience.

    And even before that I had met Cliff Bleszinski during a QuakeCon back in its early years. This was when Epic was in its Unreal 1 days. Cliff and I ran a small panel about level design and even the first guys of 2015 were there listening to the panel. I thought Cliff was a good guy, he listened to what I said, helped with the panel and talked with the people who hung around after the panel. Overall, I felt Cliff was a good guy and would have happily claimed him as a friend if I had more contact with him from that point.

    I miss those days.

    But it is quite clear at this point that the success and money has inflated some egos to the stretching point because I have no problem in saying, with my real name here in fact, that too many people in Epic have become the assholes of the video gaming industry. And just like every large developer/publisher that feels that are too good for their own industry, they will eventually wither away to be bought out by one of their competitors to disappear.

    And based on their attitudes lately, this example just being the latest in a series of questionable behavior, I say good riddance.

  28. I know my comment is about to be burried by 1,000 more, but I feel the need to type it out anyway…

    As a customer and life long gamer (started on the NES), I want to support Cliffski and his attitudes about customer interaction. Too many big developers/publishers have this sense of entitlement, as though they somehow deserve to make profits just because they spent money making a game – even if it’s a shitty game. They focus almost exclusively on the “mass market” and they all toss their games out to retail at the same time. Then when their game fails commercially (largely because it’s competing directly with every other AAA new release for that year) they blame it on piracy. The triple A game development industry has absolutely no room to lecture anyone about sales and marketing. They are universally awful at it. It’s obvious from Epic’s recent abandoning of the PC market that they couldn’t cut it in that department either.

    Cliff on the other hand seems to have adopted a philosophy where the business adapts to the customers, which is the way a business should be run. People like Mark Rein will never understand that, because running a business in that fashion requires you to have an ego that doesn’t make you look like a bobblehead. For him to think that he’s going to go to a developer conference and teach those indie devs a lesson is so far beyond douchebaggery that there simply isn’t a word for it. I put forth the idea that such excessive levels of jerkdom hence forth be known as douchereinery.

  29. Hahahaha, Mark Rein sure is a cocksucker! What a hopelessly retarded piece of human excrement. Don’t mind me, I’m just behaving in the same manor Mark Rein does when other people are speaking.

    Fuck you Mark Rein (and anyone that would stick up for him) – yeah, that includes all you Epic trash-bags.

  30. Hi there.

    Just read about this story on, and found the adress of your site in comments.

    Way to go and answering to that rudeness from Rein. Some of the comments suggest that your reaction places you on same immature and rude level as he is on, but I disagree. From time to time its good, and even a duty to stand up to jerk.

    I’m not buying stuff from Activision and Blizzard because of the reason you’ve talked about, or that is implied in your speech, if I understand in correctly. namely – they dont care about their clients, judging about what people like or dont like with statistics and stat tracking. No personal relation or interest in gamers’ minds except for “what will make them buy” is there.

    Perfect example of that attitude is in BLizzard’s reaction to RealID story, and ironicly – from Rein himself on claims that Epic is not PC studio anymore.
    Both of them seem to want to please the fans, but somehow avoiding saying the words!

    Blizz CEO did NEVER told they are sorry, or agree that RealID was a bad idea. All he did was repeating that they “want the best”. If I havn’t followed the story on forums and boards, I could think that RealID was cancelled just bacause someone’s mood changed, and its not a big deal.
    No words, even remotely resempling “community- you are right, we wont do it, we’re sorry” were there.

    Rein’s talk about Epic being “still PC” annoyed me no less, and its actualy quite disappointing that not many reacted to that.
    Instead of saying “yes, we have forgot about PC for some time, we had to work for m$, but we will try to improve”, all he talks about is their engine they sell to PC, and how they sell their engine to PC. Oh, and their engine – its for PC! At the end he squized few words about Bulletstorm, that is ALSO on PC, forgeting to mention that its actualy People Can FLy’s game.
    Same motive – no “sorry”, no “youre right”. After that claim, I see the happening at the convention as continuation of that attitude.

    Anyway – good luck to you in your work, and I wish that all this incident only bring you some fame, so more gamers could find about you and your games.

  31. Fuck that bastard.

    Im sorry, let me start again….


    Okay, better…

    The fact of the matter is, it is the indie gamers that keep gaming going. It’s that one idea for a video game that some guy has had as a story in his mind for 13 years and has finally developed into a game so epic that gamers just have to buy it that makes games worth playing. Games are revolutionary pieces of story and art that are independently thought of by guys and gals who have passion for it. And then the money his them and that epic story that was so amazing that it reshaped gaming itself, gets a crappy sequel because a Mega-studio bought it and decided that if the game was split up into 3 parts and given filler it could still be good but more money could be made. That same studio that holds it’s workers rightfully earned money ransom so that it can “motivate” them into creating the next big thing. It’s those mega-studios, who are run by a bunch of suits that have never picked up a game in their life much less care enough about anything other than money and prestige to bother reading more than a few lines of plot to their story. Those studios are mechanical beasts with their heart (designers who have a passion for games) disconnected from their heads (the suits). And us gamers can only hope, can only pray, can only yearn for some heroes… some champions in the gaming industry to rise up and create that next amazing piece of art that breaks out of the cookie cutter mold and renews our passion and vigor. But until then, we will be force fed the next “fast-food” game that has more effort put into the Photoshop work on the box and the 2 minute trailer that is more awesome than the game could ever live up to be. Maybe it’s me… just maybe… and I have absolutely not business experience to back this up… but I feel that given the chance I could run a better gaming studio than people like Mark Rein. So keep fighting the good fight Mr. Harris. Keep on trucking.

  32. I am starting to believe Indy developers are those who just can’t be successful in the mainstream market.

    If you were truly making good games, then you’d be able to break out of the Indy scene and be a reputable company. But you’re not making good games. If they were good, they would become more popular and everyone would want them. I have never heard of your games until now, and I spend a lot of time on the tubes.

    Mark and his company make more money because they make games that people want to buy. You want to make games for yourself. Working for a company would mean making games for other people, which is going against Indy development.

    Maybe you should look at your career and say “You know, maybe I should do it differently.” If you’re Indy, the current path sure isn’t working.

  33. “If you were truly making good games, then you’d be able to break out of the Indy scene and be a reputable company”

    Thanks, I needed a good laugh

  34. @ BigFatChris “I am starting to believe Indy developers are those who just can’t be successful in the mainstream market.”

    Ridiculous. Plainly you don’t understand that Indy just refers to their business being detached from what has now become the traditional model of having a Publisher business pay their bills, it has little to do with amount of commercial success a developers products achieve in the market. There are Indy books, music, movies, etc. Some have angel investors (less stringent terms than a Publisher, like in regards to ownership of intellectual property), others release smaller projects from small teams (one person in Cliff’s case) that corner niche markets or create them with their creativity.

    Do you also believe entrepreneurs are just people who can’t cut it managing and doing the menial tasks of someone else’s business successfully for their bosses profit?

    Sure, they may not have lots of access to Other People’s Money to call their own, afford the printing costs of retail boxes, and advertising slots in the 24 hr / 7 days a week mainstream media outlets but they more than make up for that in lower cost forms of development & distribution, and customer retention through satisfaction in having their niche entertainment desires fulfilled – who also spread word of their product through one of the most effective methods of advertisement that results in a sale of a product, word of mouth positive reviews.

    No wonder you gave Cliff a laugh, reading your post was like a text version of 3 Stooges skit, where Curly tries to smack Moe in the face with a pie and ends up getting it all over himself and Larry who he was ignorant of even being there while Moe calls them knuckleheads and gets pie on himself when he goes to get revenge.

    Hopefully if you return to check for responses to your comment, you will find yourself a little less ignorant or at the very least, I hope someone else learns something about what Indy means IMHO.

  35. I’ve come face to face with Mark Rein a couple of times. Cunt of truly epic proportions.

  36. Heh, warms the cockals of my heart, this.

    I have a great deal of respect for the trailblazers of the (PC) game dev biz, Carmack, Sweeney, et al, but I feel that respect is eclipsed by the current breed of devs, Positech, Introversion, etc. I feel the challenges faced by the current generation are much greater than those faced by the previous. But I’m biased, as I face those very challenges.

    As a side note, I was amused to see UnrealScript mentioned. I find it to be UE’s greatest failing and should have been replaced by a more modern script in UE2, not to mention 2.5 and 3. It was fine 10 years ago, but is now far superseded by freely available embedded script parsers, in fully dynamic OO languages to boot.

    So tired…

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