How Much Control Portals & Publisher Want?

Question:

How much game-content/technical control can an indie-developer expect to be imposed from those who manage a game-portal?

Example 1:
game portal: We need you to change the amout of score for each gem collected.
developer: Fine, no problem.

In this case, the management ask’s the developer to tweak rules\gamelogic issues, something which I dont mind much.

Example 2:
game portal: We want you to reduce the polycount on those 3D characters.
developer: From an artistic point of view, the characters needs this amount of polygons to look good.
game portal: We also want you to change the technology/method used to render characters shadows.
developer: Based on my experience on shadow rendering alghorythms, I suggest the current method should be used to be able to work on the widest range of display adapters.

In this case, the developer strongly disagree with the management about changing the inner workings of the game engine.

Answer:
You gave two good examples. The first example is very typical for portals: they will most likely give suggestions on how to improve the game and to make it more portal friendly. Very typical – you will see these kinds of requests. Not all of them has to be approved – but it’s possible that you need to tweak some elements in game for portals to accept the game. Some portals require more tweaking while others take your game easier.

The second example…. not going to happen. Portals won’t be interested in polycount numbers or shadow algorithms. This is something you have to manage inside the team. The portals will tell you if the game runs too slowly – and in this case it’s developer’s job to figure out how to optimize: whether to reduce polys, change LOD systems, tweak shadow algorythms or something else. Portals will tell you what results they want to see, but won’t be interested in methods – it’s irrelevant for portals whether you changed 200 or 3000 lines of code to meet their needs. They just care that you solve the problem.

Question:

Im using Blitz3D and BlitMax as my favourite development platforms. In my opinion this is fine as long as the game works and its fun to play. Does gameportals require the exclusive use of C++ as development platform?

Answer:
Definitely no – they won’t require exclusive use of C++ or other language (in most cases). I have never heard portals or game publishers to require use of certain language for 3rd party game developers.

It is true that some publishers might focus on “Torque games only”, “C++ games only” or “Blitz3D games only” but typically the question is about game platforms (PC, Mac, consoles…) rather than specific language. The publishers might have certain requirements like “must work with DirectX7 or higher” or “must run on GeForce2″ – but it would be very irrelevant for them to require certain language to be used. It’s the result (for example running on PC/DirectX7) that counts rather than method (must use C++).

3 thoughts on “How Much Control Portals & Publisher Want?

  1. Rick – glad to hear you like the blog.

    IoryaDragon: Yes, if they would need bigger changes – besides some tweaking – I presume they would simply say “no, thanks – we are not interested in your game” and give you examples on what kind of games they want. (This happened at least once to us at Indiepath…)

  2. Well yeah it rocks:) Well i wont change to much of a game, just tweak a little of gameplay if a portal ask, or a publisher, in other categories unless is realy needed .

  3. Juuso rocks! I love this blog!