Lest all be doom and gloom, I'd like to point out two counterexamples, being
Entombed and Time of Conflict.  Both David Greenwood and Jason Allen have
been supporting the heck out of their respective new titles.  There was a
period for Entombed where we had six releases within 7 days to try and fix a
set of bugs introduced in a new feature.  David is creating an on-line
component for ToC.  Greenwood's games are of a complexity that dwarfs most
other offerings in the market, and Allen's reconception of the rogue-like
games is addictive and has lots of replay value.

Most important of all, both of these developers have created and nourished
vibrant communities around their games.  Participants are encouraged to
submit ideas, bug reports and suggestions for the direction of the games in
question, and we see those suggestions being implemented.  As an example, I
wrote a several-page initial review and wish list for ToC when I first got
it.  The most recent revision incorporates some of the more important items
on my wish list and hints David has given lead me to suspect that more are
coming, as well as lots of cool stuff I never thought of.

I would hold these developers up as examples of what can be accomplished by
the canonical one-man shop.  Crowd-sourcing creative development, at least
to the extent of welcoming and taking the best of user input solves one part
of the problem.  Good and constant communications with the user base makes
users willing to be patient.

And lest those of us on the extreme fringe of complexity-seeking get too
complacent, remember that a lot of the sighted market is content with less
complex games too.  My wife, who is sighted would far rather play Bejeweled,
or Peggle than any FPS (they make her sick) or complex combat sim.  The
casual gaming market is every bit as important as the hard core market.
Does that mean devs may spend time on these games that they could be
spending on something more hard core?  Of course.  And rightly so from a
business perspective.

I get the sense that many devs create the games they have wanted to play,
rather than having a business plan that says, I'll corner this part of the
market with this title and go after the granny-gamers with this one and get
the hard-core teens with Blood and Iron XII.  Let's be real, this isn't
something you do for a living, it's a labor of love.

Still, it's a business and needs to conducted as such by those who wish to
charge for their efforts.  Then again, I haven't found a free game that has
held my interest for more than a few minutes, so I'll continue to
selectively buy what I like, and if the developer is willing to listen to my
thoughts, he or she will win my loyalty.  I've bought everything GMA
produced except the VIP mud client, which I just wouldn't use.  I will
continue this record as long as David keeps producing games.

        Christopher Bartlett

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