you CAN be a gamedev using flash, and not a "flashgame" dev.
I guess that's what I hoped people would actually get out of my post.
Though, here's the big problem. Because we do consider ourselves gamedev's using Flash. It's hard to come away from making a game like Dinowaurs (granted we made a good deal of mistakes with it) over the span of just under two years and still think it's worth it to spend that kind of time on a free-to-play game. I think subscription-based models could work, and even microTX for more casual, less competitive MP games. But to create something in Flash where there are all these predisposed ideas, a largely fical audience accustomed to getting everything they play for free, you have to wonder if you're just being a little bull-headed about what is possible in Flash right now
. Experimentation and the whole Next Big Thing are great to chase, but I feel like the risk involved in actually testing out making a high-quality, deep game is far to great for me
. In the end what's the point of working for years in a platform that doesn't really show you nearly as much love back as say something like... Unity? I mean, we're gamedevs after all, right?
Fantastic Contraption, Auditorium and even Dofus (although to a lesser extent) aren't really the games I want to spend months and months working on. I'd say the real outlier here is actually N. Although, they did take it to XBLA to actually make any money on it... Though I think they're all shining examples of high-quality indie games. And really, another thing to consider is a game that you want
to support for years
to come. Because that's how these MP games work whether you like it or not. A community grows around them and that community needs to be supported if you want to keep the game alive.
In the end, I just want to stress this has nothing to do with Flash itself. I thought I made that clear in the first sentence of my article. It has everything to do with how the market is today. I think it will get better and like I said in the article, people are doing cool pioneering stuff and finding great success in those new models, but I just don't see the point of making a downloadable in Flash. Even the standalone doesn't take advantage of near enough hardware to pull off great things and there is no UDP support just yet. Our next BIG game will be multiplayer.
Yea I mean Paul basically summed it up (Thanks Paul!) for me. I totally stand by this "rule of free" when it comes to player reaction to a game. Fantastic Contraption has managed to create a community around their pay-to-create model and I totally think that's valid, but it's more or less exempt since payment is involved. Lately, I've been toying with the idea of a free-to-play portal with exclusive, high-quality games where each user must pay a monthly fee to play them. Get enough high quality games that you can only play on there and people would do it. I just see all these players that mow through free games spoiling the bunch (i.e. Kongregate) of a possible loving community that could be a really great place to foster game development.
It's always amazed me just how incredibly unreasonable some of these players can be regarding bugs, imbalance and so on for a game THEY GOT FOR FREE! It's like because they spent five minutes playing the game now the developer owes them an immediate bugfix. It's exactly like a spoiled child with little concept of "No". How do you teach them? Well, you have to charge. Only then will my milkshake bring all of the boys to the yard... To play my games.