Author Topic: If ever Hard-Light was to produce a commercial game.  (Read 698 times)

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Offline headdie

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If ever Hard-Light was to produce a commercial game.
So an Idea that has been bouncing through my head over the last few weeks, which I would be surprised if no one else has thought of before now but I am intrigued by how this discussion will play out.

What if members of Hard-Light were to form the core of (leading or guiding a wider staff) a project to develop a commercial game, away from FSO and the FS IP, but still in the First Person Space Flight Genre, using lessons learned from being part of a 15+ year old community with not only extensive modding experience but also hands on experience with the source code and extensive work to improve it.  In the interest of disclosure I do have an interest in moving in this direction if the right sort of people are interested.


What would the Project's key goals be?
What would be your vision for the project?
How would it be funded?
How would it improve the community?
Who would be interested in being part of the project?
What skills would you bring to the team?


Lots of potential for conflicting, subjective answers so I am going to ask everyone to make replies as tone neutral as possible and that readers of the thread to take all posts in that same light.

My own thoughts are below in the spoiler tags for those interested, spoilers as so those who dont want my own views to affect theirs can leave it.
Spoiler:
What would the Project's key goals be?
   I think the project should provide the community with a new engine that can be used to create mods/games using media and features currently not viable in FSO due to code or licensing limitations.
   The project should be able to provide a streamlined modding experience reliant on as few intermediate steps between asset creation and importing to the engine

What would be your vision for the project?
   As indicated above I believe the project should first and foremost provide a mod friendly environment, in many respects provide a spiritual successor to the legacy of the FreeSpace engine and a new tool for this community to use to create new content.  As for gameplay I like the idea of something in the vein of FreeSpace movement style which provides an intuitive movement system for those unfamiliar with the quirks of Newtonian physics, by all means include modding options for Sir Newton as mods/games featuring FSO Newtonian physics demonstrate there is a demand for it in the existing community both for development and playing games using that flight model.  Also in the vein of Newbie friendliness I can see a need to minimise the number of core controls as much as possible to aid in learning the game but also having an expanded set available for those comfortable using them in order to enhance their gameplay experience.

How would it be funded?
   I personally think a Kickstarter style campaign in order to raise an initial capital to cover development followed by a Patreon or similar campaign to provide ongoing funding once that initial sum runs out.

How would it improve the community?
   As well as the above benefits to the modding community by providing a new engine, it might also be possible to encourage the organisation's employees from outside the community to take part in Hard-Light and perhaps some of the ongoing projects .
   Funds from the organisation should it prove profitable could also be channelled into the community as prizes, paying for Hard-Light running costs or other areas of the community as possibilities present themselves.

Who would be interested in being part of the project? What skills would you bring to the team?
   I would be interested in being involved from a management standpoint dealing with administration of activities like funding, marketing, setting up infrastructure, recruitment, working to help ensure the team has what it needs etc.

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Re: If ever Hard-Light was to produce a commercial game.
I've had the thought many times. But there are issues: mainly that the most needed talent (coders) are in short-supply and currently are volunteers, who don't want to give up their source of income.

You'd need to use a big chunk of funding to ensure that your coders don't starve for long enough to convince them to leave their own jobs.
Everything else that would make up the actual game, you could pay by thing completed, so all the rest of the talent could freelance.

But if you're suggesting what I think you're suggesting, in terms of the engine, it could theoretically be the "Source" or "Unreal" engine of space games. You could license it out to anybody else if it were powerful and flexible enough.

I'd love to help but I think you can see by my signature that I'm not super productive. Though if there were pay, that would help me and probably a lot of others.

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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Re: If ever Hard-Light was to produce a commercial game.
A long time ago (over a decade ago, now), there was an attempt to make a new engine to replace FSO. It didn't go anywhere.
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(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

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<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

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Offline headdie

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Re: If ever Hard-Light was to produce a commercial game.
I was thinking of it as a commercial venture first so for it to happen the capital would need to be raised before things got to the point of people needing to put serious time into it.

As for an FSO replacement, that is a tricky subject on a number of levels, while technically it would be easy to build a system to drop FSO structured assets into the engine, to duplicate the end result of how everything plays out on the screen in terms of gameplay would be a massive challenge which I think would have to come secondary to generally making things work in an acceptable manner.  Also with the engine being commercial I am unsure of A) how we would stand legally on this and B) How interplay will react.

Of course for my way of thinking a content import/creation system which is intuitive to FSO modding veterans would be key in such a venture
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Offline Black Wolf

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Re: If ever Hard-Light was to produce a commercial game.
Could you recruit people from HLP to work on a commercial indie space sim? Absolutely, in theory - Lords of Rigel appears to have gotten started exactly that way.

Could you expect HLP, as an entity, to create a commercial game, with all the risks, financial and legal issues that would entail? God no.

Though they might sound similar, those are two very different propositions.
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Offline Flipside

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Re: If ever Hard-Light was to produce a commercial game.
You could always write a stand-alone, single-player Internet simulator, call it Online Offline and watch confusion ensue ;)

 

Offline headdie

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Re: If ever Hard-Light was to produce a commercial game.
You could always write a stand-alone, single-player Internet simulator, call it Online Offline and watch confusion ensue ;)

Dont forget the anti Hax patches
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