The Problem of Asset Flippers

15 posts / 0 new
Last post
Doctor Tyche
Offline
Last seen: 7 hours 39 min ago
Developer11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 12/04/2012 - 11:29
The Problem of Asset Flippers

Over the past several months, on social media we have had multiple people try and push "shortcuts" to get City of Titans finished. For example, rather than produce a custom player character system, we had several people all strongly suggest we use Daz 3D. When we explained the issues in using such a system, some of them got rather belligerent. One even believed that we could bundle Daz 3D as part of the game itself, that it was a plug-in module for Unreal. From combat animations to city buildings, the pile of options available to game developers today is larger than ever. It is a different world today than it was in 2012. What is available for game developers is far cleaner, far more production ready. Shoot, we now have what are called Asset flippers on Steam Greenlight who take these premade kits and just dump them onto the market for a quick buck. They did not even make anything, just used these alpha play kits as/is. (Look up "Uncrowded" sometime for a great example of this)

There are Starter Kits able to bring nearly a game into an Alpha state in next to no time at all, even an Unreal based MMO. I know this because we used CodeSpartan's MMO Starter Kit for our prototyping and internal testing, to give us a known-good system to test against. It would have been trivial to use our development city map within this and call it an Alpha release.

The issue of these Asset Flippers has grown to the point that their channel of preference, Valve, is taking action against them.

Now, this is not to come down against purchased assets. We use purchased pieces ourselves, from vendors such as Polypixel, PurePolygons, Dokyo, Luos and many, many more. But we're not just rebundling them and calling it a day. They are different pieces, by different artists, so need to be adjusted to fit in. Some cases we had to cut them up, in order for our Builder tool to work with them. We added pieces to modular sets, in order to add more variety. We took the pieces, and worked with them, rather than flop them onto the ground and said "good enough."

Shoot, I've been pondering just making a list of "pieces we've used" just for other games who come along later on, so they can leverage our experience.

What do you all think?

Technical Director

Read enough Facebook and you have to make Sanity Checks. I guess FB is the Great Old One of the interent these days... - Beamrider

Cobalt Azurean
Cobalt Azurean's picture
Offline
Last seen: 17 hours 21 min ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/03/2013 - 16:39
I wouldn't mind seeing a list

I wouldn't mind seeing a list, more out of curiosity sake, of the stuff you've used. I would look at them as a sneak peak of the art assets to be used in CoT. But if I didn't see them, I wouldn't be heartbroken.

Planet10
Planet10's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 hours 19 min ago
Joined: 03/23/2016 - 17:21
Quote:
Quote:

Shoot, I've been pondering just making a list of "pieces we've used" just for other games who come along later on, so they can leverage our experience.
What do you all think?

Sounds like a good idea... to not implement until after you release.

Huckleberry
Huckleberry's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 45 min ago
Joined: 01/03/2016 - 08:39
You've told us about your

You've told us about your 'builder' tools. And you've said that a version of it will be used for our base builder as well. As a result, I would expect that we will be seeing a lot of assets being reused all over the place. INotice, I didn't say borrowed assets, I just left it at assets. Whether you use unadulterated borrowed assets, modified assets, homemade assets or any combination of the above, I expect that you will have certain styles to fit the various 'dromes you plan on fitting them into. I would expect that the same base item style would be tailored to fit into the scorpion 'drome, the vril 'drome or the CAP 'drome, etc.

Where am I going with this?

Well, whether you will modify your assets or not, we the players will end up recognizing the same assets over and over. Either that or every environment will be hand made pixel by pixel, which I do not expect. And when it comes to building our own bases, I have no doubt that we will be mishmashing the various styles together in a not-so-perfectly orchestrated design aesthetic using the styles you have made available to us. In other words, whether you use borrowed assets or make your own, you won't be able to avoid reused assets from being recognized by the playerbase. So I think it would be more forgivable if some of them were borrowed.

But that is just a discussion of 3D objects seen in the world.

If we find ourselves walking through the same labyrinth that was used in another game, that would be very bad. If we find ourselves seeing the same UI design as another game, that would be very bad. If we find ourselves listening to the same soundtrack or sound effects used in another game that would be very bad. (unless some of those sounds were ripped from City of Heroes, I think you would certainly get a pass there)

In other words, I think using 3D asset packages, like a chinatown neon signs package, or a starry night sky package, or even a package of ancient and modern hand weapons for weapons that should look the same as their real world counterparts (and thus the same as every other game that wants to make them look the same as their real world counterparts)... where was I? ...using some 3D asset packages would be perfectly excusable and would help you to concentrate your 3D artist's time on CoT-specific assets, like costume parts, lore-specific signage, and iconic gadgets.

P.S. [Removed so as not to cause strife]

(COH)Blue Side_________Red Side
Little Panda....................Aissa
Thunderbird Priest.....Ash Khepri
Red Scirocco.............Bloody Mandragora
Dream Gypsy............Sinister Slate

Fire Away
Fire Away's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 3 days ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/02/2013 - 09:05
You asked. So I am going to

You asked. So I am going to give it back to you straight. You personally care too much about too many things and I'm think you may lose focus in the process. Maybe no single individual can be at the top of everything that takes place in a post CoH closure world. Maybe it's best that you aren't known as the father of the effort to get back the CoH IP, the supreme coordinator (and cheerleader) of all the successors, the president of a company trying to push a game out the door on a shoestring budget, the arbiter of everybody's favorite development tool and now the guy who now wants to leave a legacy for those that follow. I am not calling you arrogant. I am calling you conflicted. My gosh, who won't be given all that.

I don't know a Daz 3D from a Pez Dispenser. And you are going to hear from those in cheap seats every single day. Sure the level of technical expertise and articulate nature of the argument may vary. But everyone has a strong opinion on what you should be doing (including yours truly). All I can say is trust your vision and your ability to distinguish the "signal" from the "noise". I have every confidence in your ability to pull off a great game...if you stay focused on doing that.

Planet10
Planet10's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 hours 19 min ago
Joined: 03/23/2016 - 17:21
The point is probably the top

The point is probably the top of the pyramid needs to think about as many things as possible ahead of time if for no other reason than to discount it as being inconsequential. If it ends up being important, it goes into the schedule. If not, it gets recorded as something that the team does not have to worry about and they move on.

Doctor Tyche
Offline
Last seen: 7 hours 39 min ago
Developer11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 12/04/2012 - 11:29
Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

P.S. I do believe that this is also a well-veiled attempt at pointing the flipped-assets finger at Ship of Heroes. We'll see how that plays out.

Nah, actually they've so far demonstrated the ability to take a foundation and build upon it. But their early screenshots with stock bits did strike me how easy it would be for someone to do so.

Technical Director

Read enough Facebook and you have to make Sanity Checks. I guess FB is the Great Old One of the interent these days... - Beamrider

Dark Ether
Dark Ether's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 1 min ago
kickstarter
Joined: 10/03/2013 - 16:26
I don't think you all should

I don't think you all should let everyone know how you're doing what you're doing, and thus maybe allow them to look for, and point out to potential players, areas of weakness "that our game will do *much* better". While it might be interesting, I don't really see an up-side to telling everyone all the tools you're using.

(insert pithy comment here)

Radiac
Radiac's picture
Offline
Last seen: 13 hours 24 min ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/19/2013 - 15:12
As someone who will be

As someone who will be getting Lethal Weapon level perks (or higher....) I would be interested in seeing what is already in the assets and what isn't, just for a sense of what to try to do with my custom items. That probably doesn't have to happen until the Lethal Weapon designs are actually being figured out though.

R.S.O. of Phoenix Rising

Lothic
Lothic's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 6 hours ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/02/2013 - 00:27
Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

Now, this is not to come down against purchased assets. We use purchased pieces ourselves, from vendors such as Polypixel, PurePolygons, Dokyo, Luos and many, many more. But we're not just rebundling them and calling it a day. They are different pieces, by different artists, so need to be adjusted to fit in. Some cases we had to cut them up, in order for our Builder tool to work with them. We added pieces to modular sets, in order to add more variety. We took the pieces, and worked with them, rather than flop them onto the ground and said "good enough."

We all know that in like 20 years anyone will be able to vocally ask any average laptop, "Computer, create a MMO like CoH." and it'll be able to do it all by itself within a few minutes. I don't say that to diminish any of the long, hard effort MWM has put into creating CoT as much as to point out that "application automation" is always going to get better and better as time goes on and there will be a point where games like this will not need multiple man-years of actual human effort to create. There's no point to worrying about that fancy future until it happens.

Since we are still in 2017 and it's going to take MWM more time to finish CoT the "old fashioned" way I say don't worry about trying to rush things by relying too much on pre-created parts to solve all your problems. Make the game as good as it can be using whatever percentage of proprietary vs. COTS parts you need RIGHT NOW and let the results speak for themselves in the long run.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Interdictor
Interdictor's picture
Offline
Last seen: 42 min 19 sec ago
11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 08/22/2013 - 05:26
See Jim Sterling for my

See Jim Sterling for my opinions on asset flips. Thank God for him.

Now, it sounds like you aren't just buying and placing assets wholecloth - you are modifying them where appropriate. That's not too bad - hopefully they won't be that obvious. As for explicitly pointing out what pieces you used - I'm not sure of the benefit to CoT to do so - at least during development (and during the current hooplah regarding said asset flips). Maybe later after launch as sort of a "making of" retrospective?

Doctor Tyche
Offline
Last seen: 7 hours 39 min ago
Developer11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 12/04/2012 - 11:29
Interdictor wrote:
Interdictor wrote:

See Jim Sterling for my opinions on asset flips. Thank God for him.

I would have used a Jimquisition video, but we still are aiming for a T for Teen game....

Technical Director

Read enough Facebook and you have to make Sanity Checks. I guess FB is the Great Old One of the interent these days... - Beamrider

TitansCity
TitansCity's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 43 min ago
11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/28/2013 - 02:09
Planet10 wrote:
Planet10 wrote:

Quote:
Shoot, I've been pondering just making a list of "pieces we've used" just for other games who come along later on, so they can leverage our experience.
What do you all think?
Sounds like a good idea... to not implement until after you release.

i agree :)

Grimfox
Grimfox's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 11 hours ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 08/05/2014 - 10:17
Quote:
Quote:

Maybe later after launch as sort of a "making of" retrospective?

Sounds like a plan to me. Please contact your local university's art school so they can begin filming.

(at)Roxanna - Little Sister - Plutonium Bloom - MilkShakes
Triumph
Guardian
Virtue

Dev tracker: http://cityoftitans.com/forum/fixing-dev-digest

Airhead
Airhead's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 46 min ago
kickstarter11th Anniversary Badge
Joined: 10/03/2013 - 23:38
Similar to Fire Away, I don't

Similar to Fire Away, I don't see this as important. What will tell is how well the universe fits together once we see it. So long as it doesn't look like a LEGO assembly and isn't something obviously borrowed then I'm not worried how it came to be. [These concerns don't apply to LEGO universes or respectful homages.] I am looking forward to something immersive and not just a test of gaming skills and I appreciate that takes a lot of development effort regardless of this thread.

"The illusion which exalts us is dearer to us than ten thousand truths." - Pushkin
Vice Naivecrat