I have taken a month hiatus from BYOND; I've been pretty busy lately.
However, I've still been following kickstarter and steam greenlight and some of the indie-gaming scene, and I've made a couple of really interesting observations.
First I'm going to ask that you look at a couple of recent indie games that I see as successful:
Hyper Light Drifter
Legend of Dungeon
Now, I'm not asking that you watch the entirety of each of these videos. I just want you to have a good idea of what each of these games play like, what they look like, what they feel like.
Ignore the fact that these three games are from a similar genre, because the point I'm looking to make is not genre specific.
These three games have each been fairly successful. HammerWatch has been Steam Greenlit and sells for $10 a copy. Hyper Light Drifter raised more than half a million dollars ($645,158 specifically) on Kickstarter, and is Steam Greenlit. Legend of Dungeon raised $33000 on Kickstarter and sells for $10 on Steam.
When I look at these games, and I look at their kickstarter pages and their Steam pages, I can't help but think to myself: "This could have been developed on BYOND."
HammerWatch is a multiplayer dungeon crawl that pretty much plays like IainPeregrine's Casual Quest. It's fancy effects and lighting are possible using the alpha channel on icons, and the new features with atom.blend_mode can make even better looking effects. And yet it sells for $10 on steam, and has been covered by many youtube stars like Yogscast (with nearly 1 million views), so it's probably not too far-fetched to say that it has sold well.
Legend of Dungeon is actually a fairly slow-paced dungeon crawl that does not even have online multiplayer. It only features singleplayer or local-machine multiplayer. I'm going to go so far as to say that its gameplay was poorly designed and is not very fun. But it still raised $33000 on Kickstarter, and it was covered by Yogscast (66k views). You might say "Well that 3d lighting is not doable on BYOND", and I'm just going to say that it IS doable on BYOND, but I'll get into how or why some other time. Just know that the latest features with atom.blend_mode just made that sort of lighting feasible. It also sells for $10 on Steam. This game was developed by 2-person team.
Hyper Light Drifter is kind of similar to Legend of Dungeon. It features singleplayer and local-machine multiplayer, and its gorgeous art is simple and doesn't rely on overly fancy effects. I'm not trying to downplay the game's magnificent art design in the least, but everything in that gameplay video for Hyper Light Drifter is possible in BYOND, regardless of singleplayer or online-multiplayer. This game is developed by a single person.
The thing is, the lack of online-multiplayer coop have turned off a huge number of potential buyers/backers. Discussion forums about Hyper Light Drifter AND Legend of Dungeon is riddled with questions about "Is there online-multiplayer?" and the subsequent disappointment upon hearing "No. Singleplayer or Local-machine multiplayer only". There's kind of a universal desire to be able to play these indie games online, in coop with friends. It's not hard to imagine that these games would be even more successful if they featured online multplayer.
I think BYOND right now fits a very good niche and does its job well. BYOND is perfectly capable of running these games, Legend of Dungeon and Hammerwatch and Hyper Light Drifter, in online multiplayer. Notice that the big emphasis is on coop and online multiplayer, and that these games are not silly MMORPGs, which BYOND is notorious for not handling so well. So pretty much, less than 10 players. Each of these games are being developed by either a solo developer, or a VERY small team.
BYOND doesn't need a big dream-team of developers to put out a good game, and it doesn't need some holy features of 3d graphics or client-side processing to make good and fun games.
So why hasn't BYOND's Hyper Light Drifter happened yet?
Nov 5 2013, 5:07 pm (Edited on Nov 5 2013, 5:22 pm)