18 September 2010

PatcheZ, SequalZ, and X-PackZ oh my! - by Curtis Turner

      Posted 09/14/10 06:24:00 am  

All three are basically the same.

PatcheZ are usually free, adding little bits over time. Simple engine fixes, map or two, whatever. Patches come quicker than a sequal or x-pack. Valve and Blizzard are well known for Counter-Strike, Team Fortress II, and World of WarCraft for their constant patching. The press and fans eat patches up. Normally free, but lately they've moved to "DLC" or subscription based. Valve got so lazy they let modders do all the work (:

X-PackZ are just one large clump of a patch. Using the same engine or an advanced version of it. X-PackZ are sold for a lower price than a normal game, but almost always require the base game. The biggest issue is that they almost always split the multi-player userbase. On the bright side developers already have content to use and can quickly whip out an X-PacK. These days the X-PacK is called "DLC" and are usually more than just one. Once again the press and fans usually eat these alive. Call of Duty has proven that even a few maps has a large value to fans. This is obvious to the FPS'er multi-player market, as one map can last the test of time. de_dust2, we salute you!

SequalZ may use the same engine, advance it, or use something totally different. SequalZ require the longest development time and usually developers start from nothing. It's wise to bring as much content over as possible. Textures, sounds being the good choices. Fans want a lot of content and many, many updates to a sequal. However, you've already got them hooked.

The PorT is just taking your already made game and porting it to some crappy console ;)

ModZ are many things, created using tools released by the developers to fans of the games. These can be simple tools/kits to allow for sound, texture editing, level creation, to fully all blown out engine mods. Counter-Strike is the most well known, created from Half-Life's SDK. So popular Valve stepped in and sold it. The rest, is history. Normally SDK's come with the game or sometimes totally free. So popular these days many companies are now banking on mods alone without selling a game with it. ie Unreal Development Kit. However, they could've easily sold just the mod kit for $5/10 easy and still allowed commercial use.

Your Game: Engine2 is pretty much your first game ported to the new super engine. Counter-Strike: Source

Your Other Game: Same Engine is using the engine you already created to make a mini in studio mod, I mean game. Half-Life: Ricocrap, Day of n00biE, Counter-Awesome-TiL-1.4shit, etc Valve has this down pat. They usually include these mini games as part of their other games. Gaining an audience and IP, then later creating larger versions of these games if popular enough.

Now, the biggest mistake I see a lot of developers make is not getting that patch/sequal/x-pack deal. Not allowing modding tools severly hurts your long term sales and can piss off pc gamers bad. An X-PacK deal with a publisher is very wise, allowing you to make free patches and then release your content(maps, weapons, whatever) in the X-PacK. This should gain you a lot of respect for free patches, plus the bonus of all the patch press, then your dlc comes out getting you all the extra cash. At this point you could take the sequal route or go with a "Your Other Game: Same Engine" deal.

 

// Curtis Turner 
// Creator of Elements of War!
// http://www.ElementsofWar.NET
// http://www.ModDB.com/Mods/Elements-of-War

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