All too true. In many cases it boils down to the difference between a corporation and a small business. Comparatively speaking none of us accessible developers are in the same league with the mainstream game companies. That is why we really can't compare with the latest and greatest Play Station and XBox titles. The major mainstream game companies have a really large operating budget with teams of developers, graphics designers, story writers, actors, etc to work on a really high quality game product, and had excellent training to start with. The accessible game companies we have are one to three man operations. Most of the developers are self-taught, and learn as they go. They have small operating budgets which means they can't higher a lot of voice talent, buy sounds and music tracks, etc. It is really remarkable what has been done with the resources that have been available to the accessible game developers so far. As you pointed out yourself a tool like the GMA Game engine saves a developer countless hours of development time. The core features of a game such as input handling, sound system, core classes, etc are already in the engine. A developer needs to script the game levels, monsters, etc and bang you have a new game. Once I complete my Genesis engine I'll be similarly able to produce games quickly and with relative ease. My game engine has a level editor that allows me to move the cursor over an area and draw a wall, door, staircase, rope, etc. This obviously saves time since I'm drawing the level with an editor rather than coding it all by hand.

Scott Chesworth wrote:
Sure, I'd love a huge library of varied titles to choose from as much
as the next bored blind guy with a penchant for gaming, but to be
blunt, saying "I want this, we need that" doesn't actually do much.
For your "I want this, we need that" to become a reality, the fact is
that somebody has got to sit down and put in the hours of story
creation, game design, and hard graft coding to make the product.  The
reason that people use the GMA engine seems to be that it's stable and
will save them hundreds of hours of building their own from scratch.
The reason that we're lacking variation is that a developer with a
great imagination, top writing skills, a knack for inivative
usability, bags of skill at writing code, and tons of time to pour
into all those things and probably some others I've missed hasn't
materialised yet.  The creation of mainstream titles has that work
load spread across huge teams of people in the cases of the games you
mentioned, most of the time we're talking about whole teams for each
specific area.  Every one of those people gets paid full time to do
it, has an actual budget to work with, and has probably fought pretty
hard to be doing the job they're doing.  Maybe you're actually the
developer we need having read all that?  I know I'm not.

I skated over a few points about graphics etc because they were...
well... a bit ridiculous.
Sorry it's slightly ranty, I've just had a surprising hour of
discovering how much playability there is left in the games I own now
I've switched away from the keyboard and I don't like seeing the good
developers we actually do have being put down much.


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