A few thoughts regarding new campaign being DLC

From Cliffski’s blog:

"To answer someone’s question, the campaign will not be a free patch, it will be some sort of DLC. "

Upon reading this, I couldn’t help but feel more than a bit of disappointment as well as a bit of confusion.

In relation to the confusion - it was mentioned that the new campaign mode would be connected to a sever to draw player fleets and such into it. However, one question I’m hoping to ask is that it is this completely necessary? Can we have a pure single player campaign that draws from a set of pre-existing fleets? The reason I ask is that having it needing to connect to servers everytime is annoying, especially since I’ll be moving to the middle east soon and internet connection can be annoyingly difficult to get at times, while the speeds are 56k-tastic.

The disappointment relates to the fact that its DLC. I love GSB, but one of the things that bugged me about it is that there’s no real decent single player aspect to it. The campaign, while nice, is really plain to the point that its annoying and limits replayability. While challenges are fun, I don’t really play the games for the MP - especially since half the time I’m stuck in places with no internet and the other half most of the challenges need the expansions to play.

The type of campaign being proposed for GSB is something that, in all honesty, should have been in the game from the beginning. Its not really fair to get people to pay for single player that should have been there as part of its default feature set. If the campaign was the basis of GSB2 with a whole different set of ships, features and such then yes, I’d understand it costing money - but something like this basically changes the game experience at its core.

I understand coding it all is hard work…but it feels like a rip-off in a way since I’ve paid $20 not for a game but for a work in progress and it looks like I’ll need to pay half as much as I did to actually get to the good, fun stuff that really appeals to me.

At the very, very least, Cliffski, I implore upon you to release just the campaign without any other content as a micro-expansion, along the lines of $2 to $5. That way at least while people are paying more to get what should’ve been there in the beggining, its not a ridiculous amount to do so.

won’t happen: cost > revenue = loss

Considering Positech is Cliffski, the man hours to price ration is actually quite fair, & especially since GSB is a unique, quality game.

You didn’t buy a work in progress, have you seen any guarantee tthat updates would be added? No. Everything we get, such as the new graphs, are just a bonus, but in no way guaranteed. However, cliffski’s costs for this campaign would e lower since he doesn’t have to pay an artist to make new ships.

You know what?
As long as i know that Cliff is the one getting my money,and the one using it,i dont mind paying him at all. And thats because i know that i get quality work for my money, i know that the content i buy comes with a warranty, i know im supporting a company/person who needs the money and deserves it. And i also dont have to worry about some goddamn fuking company that only cares about the money and doesnt give jack sht if i like the game as long as i buy it.
If i dont like something that Cliff is doing,i can just scream it in his face and the worst thing that would happen is that i`d offend him. As it goes for the big companies, i cant even offend them because nobody that matters will ever read the mail, let along listen to what i have to say.

As far as im concerned, Cliff is doing a great job, GSB is fun, and im looking forward to seeing more of his work… couldnt care less if it costs me few bucks to get it as long as i know its from him.

good stuff costs. period. and frankly, GSB is cheap as it is.


The only reservation I have about lots of DLC is that expansions can have weird effects on mutiplayer games.

You sometimes end up in situations where players are afraid to use new content (because those without will get left out) or players not being able to play (because everyone’s using the new stuff).

It’s a weird line to walk with optional content sometimes.

I can’t blame a dude for wanting money, especially since it is just him working on this game. It’s what, $32 for the full game and two micro-expansions?

Modern Warfare 2 sold what 14 million copies as of November 2009 or something like that, and that’s the best selling game ever made so far.

So what does Cliffski have as a solo indie game developer, catering to a niche market and genre? Maybe ten thousand copies maximum? Not everyone paid full price for the game or the expansions mind you, I got half off for my ‘The Order’ and i dunno what other promotions there have been. He also doesn’t have any DRM so if people want to rip it off they can with pretty much no problem.

Assuming 10,000 people bought the main game and both ‘The Order’ and ‘The Tribe’, that gives him $320,000, maximum, which is a pretty great sum of cash, and there is not a lot of overhead involved. He needs to pay his advertisers as I see his ads around a fair bit, he may not have much overhead other then that though.

All said, $300 grand doesn’t mean you are driving around in a solid gold Rolls Royce or anything, I think that’s a pretty damn good number to aspire to for one dude and lets him work full time on the game and support whatever kids, alimony payments, or whatever he has that he needs to support. He might have another job of course but if he has the ability to put out a game like this in his spare time then that’s even better for him.

Kudos to him for making it work, and if he wants to get more cash then good for him. As always, you’ve got the consumer’s choice: if you don’t think it is worth it, don’t buy it.

If you could make a game solo and get 300,000 grand for it then you’d do it too, and you’d want it to keep going instead of having to go back to a mundane job after a couple of years.

Looking at the people making and playing challenges I would guess that number is something on the order of two thousand people. The last time I did a top ten list, there were 658 unique challengers in the last 2000. How many people pay for the game but never play or issue challenges is hard for me to guess, but I would be surprised if 5,000 copies have been sold altogether. I would assume that only hard core players would buy expansion packs. Many regular challengers don’t seem to have them. I would guess the total revenue from the game would be somewhere around $100,000. From that come overhead costs like paying for this website and whatever cut distributors like steam take. Also Cliffski has said that there were substantial costs for artwork. I imagine it’s a reasonable living but I doubt he is living in the lap of luxury from this business.

For myself, the cost of the game and expansion packs has been well worth it to me.

Trust me, I’ve paid full price for pieces of crap before. If GSB were selling for $50 and expansions for $30, then yes, you could complain. But it’s selling for $20 and $6, and the price is, arguably, less than what it should be in my experience.

a big chunk of the sales come through steam and similar sites, who take their cut. Also, even direct sales lose a cut due to credit card payment charges. And also there are currency conversion charges. too.
Then after all that, and the dedicated server hosting, and the artwork, I then pay corporation tax on whats left. After than, I then pay income tax on whats left.
My advertising bill is pretty huge too. A big chunk of the profit from each game is eaten up with the advertising bill.
I don’t know any indie developers who drive a porsche :smiley:
(maybe 2D boy do now?)

with the amount of expansions I feel it will be time soon to release a full version type product, at a much lower cost than the original game + seperate expansions, i.e. at expected full retail price now that the game is much bigger better etc. This will hook new players in without the daunting aspect of haveing to buy ‘extra’ to keep up. At the same time maybe a sweetener for those who pay for the DLC as add ons in the form of extra game content (ship pack/graphics add-on/new modules)

also this ties in with the ‘recomend a friend’ sweetener idea that was posted on the blog.

innovative product selling, expanding customer base via the SP/MP campaign hook and continued word of mouth selling = £

just my 0.2p

you get more later for the DLC :o)

A gold edition with all races and expansions for slightly less than buying them seperatly would help bring in new customers.

I’d agree with advertising! I see banner ads for GSB on quite a few sites I visit. One being TWCenter.net

Cliff, will you be able to take advantage of the new UK business tax credit? I saw a story about that in my RSS a week or two ago.

I doubt it. I suspect this is pre-election promises that will not happen. I also suspect that, as is usual with R&D, they set a minimum claim of something silly like £100k a year, to be no more than 20% of your revenue, to ensure small businesses can’t claim it :frowning:
I’d love to be proved wrong though.

Well I can’t claim to know what goes on across the ocean. It mentioned it was tailored to game designers which is why it stuck in my mind. I’d much rather see you get it for creating a uniquely wonderful game, than other devs who consistently release carbon copied crap.

Wow, looks like I was way overboard with my profit estimate. And I had assumed in the example that you took it all just for argument’s sake, I didn’t take anything away for potential costs.

So, keep em coming Cliffski, if they are any good I will keep paying so you can keep eating.

For a few years I used to pay a team of 40 or so people to produce me a full colour, 130+ pages report on the latest PC games. It featured review, previews, interviews and more. It even came with a DVD supplement, filled with game demos and patches. I paid them a little more than a fiver each month. Which spread around 40+ people seemed like a fair wage to me.

Well, eventually I decided to stop paying them for the reports. So I had plenty of money to spare. And I was thinking, “You know, I wish there was a tactical, fleet building, space combat game…” So I paid some bloke called ‘Mr Cliff’ to make such a game for me. I gave him, I think, 15 pounds sterling for his efforts. This large sum of money also had to cover artist fees and any other expenses in the making of the game. I wanted to have my own community to send and receive challenge fleets with too. And Mr Cliff provided me with my own personal community with over 500 people and thousands of challenges. I was very impressed. But, of course, for 15 pounds sterling, one should expect such lofty results!

And then there was the time I paid Arnold Swartzenegger and a few hundred movie crew 7 pounds and 50 pence to make me an action movie…