Future Game Developers, Cliff Bleszinski Says Make Your Games On PC

Epic Games' Cliff Bleszinski, speaking at a GDC panel earlier today, gives some practical advice to the fledgling developers of tomorrow.

It may not mesh with the corporate views of his employers, necessarily, but it's sound advice regardless.

(Top photo by Mark Davis | Getty)

Comments

    its true though, even epic started on the PC well before they moved over to consoles and even then they moved over fully when the 360 came out.

      Except that even then the only thing's they have done on 360 only are Gears and Shadow Complex(XBLA) Which is probably more a case of MS giving them money than anything else.

      They own People Can Fly. Who made Bulletstorm as a Multiplat. And they have put out infinity blade on IOS.

      Personally i want to see them move away from Gears now and do something new. It's essentially what defines them as a studio. I think they should either pass it off to a subsidary studio they own. Or pass it off altogether. They have done their trilogy.

    Makes a lot of sense to me. There are a lot of really good indie games that sold in buckets on steam and almost nothing on xbox.

      Is there even an Indie section yet on Aussie XBLive?

        Nope. And with rumours of the indie section maybe not making it to the next generation of xbox, i doubt we will ever see it........

    Didn't cliffy b hate on pc for ages, saying something like "making a game for pc first then consoles doesn't make sense" or some shit like that.

      He was saying that for AAA releases though.

        He's still stupid as all hell if he thinks that.

          I don't know where your quote came from, but in terms of actually developing a game it makes total sense. It's a lot easier to get a game initially written for consoles to run on a PC than it is to go the other way.

          Yes, you need to do a little work to make it "feel" like a PC game, but purely in terms of getting something running, console to PC is the way to go.

            Considering how hard it is to make games for ps3 to its potentional. console to pc is the worst way to go.

            it makes sense to go pc to console, you make the pretty high res hd version of a game first then nuder it for console.

              Thats only the case if you want to make a pretty version. If you want to make a version that will run on older machines, surely its easier to go the other way around and do a port rather than an up- or down-scale.

                What do you mean? "if you want to make a version that runs on older machines"

                You can tweak graphical settings on pc for a reason. The pc version of a game should always look the best at-least, Official mod support is also something that would be hard to implement in a port.

                I'm sick of AAA titles being ported to pc poorly because devs just don't give a shit. Make it on pc first then port it to other consoles or at-least give the job of porting to a competent company.

                Any idea of pc being the pirate platform is extremely stupid, sure its not hard to pirate on pc but look at the torrent sites and look at the most popular torrents. Its almost always xbox 360 iso's that are released first.

                Developers need to understand that there is piracy on every platform. They need to stop acting like pc are a bunch of ungrateful pirates, If developers do a horrible job porting a game to pc and then it sells horribly and the developers blame it all on piracy there is something very wrong with them.

                  Im actually suggesting why bothe catering to the high end of the pc market at all. Im not going to play the piracy card - I'm going to play the "its a pain in the ass card".

              *Neuter, not Nuder. Unless they're taking clothes off.

              "Considering how hard it is to make games for ps3 to its potentional. console to pc is the worst way to go."

              On the contrary, the fact that the PS3 is difficult to develop for is the very reason people often lead on it.

              For the most part, the decisions you make to get the game running well on the PS3 hardware either have little impact on Xbox and PC or they actually improve performance there as well. There are a number of details related to effective use of the PS3 hardware are diffucult to keep in mind if you're developing primarily for PC.

              There's a reason that The Witcher 2 is coming to Xbox and not PS3, and it has nothing to do with platform loyalty.

              The fact the PS3 is more difficult to code for is why you would want to concentrate on the consoles from the outselt. If you don't you could code yourself into a corner, develop something that can't be taken back to work on the console or would take considerably more effort to do so.

              I'd have to imagine it's a lot easier to build up than it is to build down. Building up allows you to build ontop of a solid foundation...building down may lead to you pulling rocks out of that foundation and without the proper fore planning, the entire structure will fall away from under you.

              Also of note, just because you target the consoles innitially, that doesn't mean your art assets and the like aren't originally created in high resolution. Things like that can and will be compressed along the way, thats not really a problem.

            What you actually mean. Is it's annoying when you code an entire game for PC only to translate it to console and have it break because the console can't comprehend half the things you've done. And the rest of it won't run unless you slash the resolution down to 720p or less and drop the framerate.

    Wonderful advice for indie developers and others building from the ground up.
    Both systems have their flaws and if you want to go AAA, you need to buy software deveopment kits.
    As several indie games have illustrated, if you build it well, they will come.

    Too much piracy on Android? has he looked at PC gaming recently?

      Steam on the PC has slackened a lot of the PC is the Pirate King.

      Resonable pricing beats pirating faster then anything.

        Steam DRM is easy enough to bypass, look at titles like Modern Warfare 2's piracy figures and that was a Steam exclusive (retail box required Steam authentication).

        Also, in Australia, Steam pricing is atrocious. Modern Warfare 2 is still US$89. Most Activision, Bethesda and EA titles attract a 50% price increase from their US counterparts for no other reason that they want it to match what they're asking at a retail store. Its completely ridiculous and reason enough for piracy (or to have someone overseas gift you a copy, but that is against the Steam terms of service, so may as well pirate it).

        Where Steam wins me over is their single DRM that I'm happy to have. Activation limits and disc-based protection is awful, Steam is doing something right here at least and providing an overall experience to gamers with the built-in friends list, server browser and community.

          Just buy it from a third party site (GreenmanGaming for example) where they'll sell the game at the US prices, then just activate the CD key they give you. Bought Saints Row from there for 40 bucks a few months back.

          It's not against the Steam TOS to have someone else gift you a game from other regions.

          The only reason the pricing is high is because publishers are greedy fucks. Sure Steam could stand up to them about it. At the risk of loosing business altogether.

          And while on principal they should, I have to say it would be a dick move to demand that steam does it. When our own backyard refuses to do so.

      I hope you'll forgive that this is a gut feeling without hard data, but I would suggest that it is probably easier to build a passionate community willing to support your product on PC (across all of Win/Mac/Linux) than it is to do the same with an Android game.

      There are communities based purely around PC gaming, but it feels to me that the strongest communities built around Android gaming are really the ones built around sharing pirated copies of Android games.

      At this point in time there is pretty much no-one who pays for a game because it's easier than pirating it. Anyone who gives you money for your work is doing so because they've seen something they like and that they think it deserves to be supported.

    Makes sense. It will toughen you up with endless relentless trolling and criticism.

    As a Windows Phone developer, I agree. As much as I enjoy and extol the strengths of the platform, the marketshare is damn near non-existent.

      Because they're too busy being reactive.

      People bought iPhones because their friends have iPhones - people who didn't want to be apple bought Android because it does the same thing but they can stand proud and say how awesome they are for having an iPhone that isn't an iPhone.

      Windows pops out and goes look look here at me - everyone looks and goes thats nice - but I already have my phone.

        I think that Windows 8 will make Windows Phone a lot more relevant as it pulls all of your devices together.

        Windows Phone 7 is good, but it's difficult to port to because they don't allow native code. People don't want to buy it because it's not well supported, and so developers don't want to go out of their way to support it because no one is buying it. It's a sad cycle.

          Well that could be a possibility. But currently i don't know of anyone who doesn't already use a windows phone who is actively looking forward to Win 8.

          Personally i think windows 8 is going to end up with the same situation as vista. It's different, most workplaces, schools probably aren't going to adopt it any time soon. So it's easier to just stick with the current widespread solutions. Hell my uni only just got to win 7 late last year. I don't see them in any rush to adopt 8

          Maybe, but TBH I think the bringing it together argument may have made more sense a few years ago. While it certainly streamlines things, Apple has iCloud, Android has its cloud solutions and many other apps are online based. The devices are becoming less and less PC dependant, and those that do need to sync data can quite easily in many of the cases already.

        That's very true. People like to talk about the concept of a "three horse race" with platforms, but phones it seems as though it's a polarity thing. You either have X or you have Not X.

          I dunno, I'd say there's three horses. iPhones, Androids and 'either of the above'

            *Neither

            >.<

      The worst part of developing for wp7 is the seggregation between Xbox live games and everything else. It doesn't even give small dev teams a chance because most people don't even bother to look past the Xbl section.

      I love my windows phone, and its an amazing OS, but yeah. There's no money to be made on it, and he's right that (pretty much) nobody has one.

    Its a weird headline, of course you make your games ON a PC or an SDK. It should say make games FOR PCs.

      Sigh it doesn't matter how convenient it makes things - its not a got a look in till about 2 years after the iPhone 4/s launch when all the contracts expire. Thats when they will have to market it - no one is going to break a contract unless a high poplulation is doing it.

    It's relative to the developers knowledge base more than any of his comments. I think he's referring to if you are new and just starting out that PC is an easier, cheaper and often faster learning/expense curve than the other platforms or developer platforms/kits out there.

    I prefer PC based coding over anything else myself too.

      With excellent SDKs like Marmalade out there there's really no reason why you can't just hit every platform with just a little bit of effort. In my mind, the more platforms the better.

        its not about SDks or actually developing games, he is talking about the fact that you will make more money as an indie dev on a PC than you will using any other platform due tot he fact that you dont have to comform to what those platfrom big wigs want. Half reason why patches take for ever on consoles is because not only does the developer have to test them, they then have to send them to M$ and $ony so they can do their tests and so on.

        Skyrim is great example of that, On PC its getting beta patches out the arse but on console its only getting 1/5 of the patches. many other indie games that were up on consoles ended up being more popular on the PC due to the fact that it was alot easier for the developers

          Yeah and if Schafer is to be believed there is a 40k cost per patch.

          Which means instead of fixing things right away you let them get into a pile before your willing to drop the dough that they want to do the update.

          I'd also say that when it comes to Indy games the PC community is far more likely to lap them up. Hell i'm invested in a couple of games at various points in their development because the game looks/plays good.

          Yet on console i would never pay for them. Partly because A) they would have to have been released already and the games are mostly running of pre-purchases by the looks B) These games run on the laptop i carry with me. And sure that means they could try Idevice/Droid/WinPhone. Except that for the most part they would control like arse anyways

      It's not about ease to develop. I can slap a game together in XNA in a few hours, but I'll be damned if I can jump through the hoops with Microsoft to get it distributed on Xbox Live.

      What Cliff is basically saying is that you go PC because you can actually distribute your game without being at the mercy of a company like Microsoft or Sony or Apple.

      He's 100% correct. Sure, getting onto something like Steam would be great, but you can always paypal it if you go PC or work out a deal with another digital distributor. Hell you can distribute your game "for free" via P2P networks if you wanted to make a F2P game.

      You can't do that with any of the consoles because the people who control the platforms don't want you to.

    This coming from the guy who said a while back that the PC is dead. I would not put any stock in what CliffyB says. Ever.

    THE BEST GAMES OF ALL TIME RUN ON PC. END OF DISCUSSION.

      Halo Reach and Uncharted 2 would like a word with you, Mr PC Zealot.

    We need a SteamBox platform.

    I've been developing for many years, and the market has never been more restrictive. Apple is quickly moving to lock down Mac OS X along iOS lines. Microsoft is doing the same. PSN and XBLA are a joke for small developers. And Android... CliffyB is right: you don't make money on Android.

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